Prosecutors have charged a man with violently attacking a 72-year-old couple as they walked home from a Northwest Side Blue Line station after visiting the Art Institute last month.
Bob Tataryn spoke with CBS2 on February 22 while police were still investigating the attack. Prosecutors said Bob suffered a fractured nose and cuts while the attacker broke his wife Kitty’s wrist and fractured both sides of her jaw.
On Friday, Assistant State’s Attorney Loukas Kalliantasis said Chicago police detectives used a series of surveillance camera feeds to track the offender’s movements before the attack. They caught a break when the attacker used his own Ventra card to enter a Blue Line station in the Loop. Data from that fare swipe eventually led cops to arrest charge cardholder, 28-year-old Tomatae Sipes, with attacking the Tataryns and with an unrelated incident at a downtown bank last year.
Bob and Kitty exited the Blue Line at Irving Park around 3 p.m. on February 17 and headed toward their car, which they parked on a nearby side street before taking the train downtown to visit the Art Institute earlier, Kalliantasis said.
“We’re city people,” Bob told CBS2 last month. “We take the Blue Line as much as we can.”
The couple quickly realized a man was following them from the station. He continued to follow them across Irving Park and down another street, so the couple doubled back, fearing that he might be a carjacker, according to Kalliantasis.
The Tataryns tried to enter the back doors of nearby businesses to get away from the man, but they were locked. He caught up with them and immediately punched Kitty in the face, knocking her to the ground “instantly,” Kalliantasis said.
“He hit her – left, right, left, right – broke her jaw, and broke her wrists,” Bob told CBS2.
Then the attacker turned his attention to Bob, punching him in the face repeatedly until he fell to the ground. The attacker then kicked Bob in the face several times and left. A passerby called 911.
EMS took Kitty to a hospital for treatment. Bob drove himself to the hospital, according to Kalliantasis.
Police arrested Sipes at the Irving Park YMCA on Thursday after identifying him through video and Ventra records, according to CPD records. The couple could not identify him in photo line-ups, but he was wearing the same boots and pants and was carrying the same backpack as the attacker, Kalliantasis said.
CTA surveillance cameras also recorded Sipes’ identifiable facial features before the attack, he said.
Sipes denied knowing about the attack.
Near North bank incident
Prosecutors also charged Sipes on Friday with an incident at Fifth Third Bank, 33 West Huron, in November.
Kalliantasis said Sipes became upset when the bank told him that there was no money in his account and that he should contact Social Security to resolve the issue.
Instead, Sipes allegedly threatened to “f*ck everyone up until I get my money.”
He proceeded to tear up the bank, Kalliantasis said, breaking three computer monitors, three phones, a money machine, the front door, and a window. Damage totaled over $3,600.
Prosecutors charged Sipes with two counts of aggravated battery of a victim over age 60, two felony counts of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, felony criminal damage, and misdemeanor counts of criminal damage and battery.
His criminal background includes juvenile adjudications for armed robbery in 2009 and attempted residential burglary in 2010. As an adult, he received a 13-year sentence for home invasion in 2012, Kalliantasis said. According to court records, Sipes was also wanted for failing to appear in court for a misdemeanor battery case on the same day that he allegedly attacked Bob and Kitty Tataryn.
Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber said Sipes suffers from mental health conditions.
Judge Kelly McCarthy set bail at $750,000 on the new charges and ordered Sipes to go on electronic monitoring if he posts a 10% deposit to get out of jail. She set a separate $30,000 bail on the misdemeanor arrest warrant.