Minnesota man gets 12 years for random knife attack in downtown Chicago condo building

CHICAGO — A Minnesota man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to attempted murder in connection with an apparently random knife attack on a River North resident who was working out in their condo building’s fitness center.

Judge Michael Hood sentenced Alex Blickem to 12 years in exchange for his guilty plea. Prosecutors dropped burglary and aggravated battery charges in the deal.

Blickem, 31, was not supposed to be outside Minnesota at the time of the attack, as he was awaiting trial for allegedly committing a similar attack there months earlier.

Surveillance video showed Blickem entering the condo building at 405 North Wabash and opening packages in the mailroom before he moved across the hall to the fitness center around 5:27 a.m. on September 30, 2021, officials said.

Once inside the gym, he allegedly walked up to a 38-year-old man he did not know, stabbed him in the side, and said, “You are dead.”

The victim ran to the lobby to get help from the building’s desk attendant. Building management told residents in an email that the attacker was “an outside person who does not live in the building.” The email did not say how he got into the high-rise.

Chicago police found Blickem hiding in a storage closet with a backpack containing several knives. Officers also found a bloody knife at the fitness room entrance.

Alex Blickem | Cook County sheriff’s office; Multiplottr

Surgeons operated on the victim at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to repair his kidney and intestine, which were lacerated in the attack.

Blickem allegedly told police he was homeless and came to Chicago for a girl. He also claimed to have blacked out after taking allergy medicine from Walgreens. Prosecutors said he has an “extensive history” of psychiatric episodes and violent and abusive behavior in Minnesota.

In fact, officials said he was on pre-trial release in that state after he allegedly entered a stranger’s home in April 2021, attacked the man who lives there, and told the victim he was dead. Cops reportedly found Blickem passed out on the victim’s bedroom floor with methamphetamine lying nearby. He was charged with burglary, first-degree assault, threatening bodily harm, and narcotics charges by Minnesota authorities.

Less than three months later, The McLeod (Minnesota) County Sheriff’s Office said it arrested Blickem for driving while intoxicated, fleeing police, and illegal firearm possession. There was a warrant outstanding in the case at the time of the River North attack.

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