Man charged in Bucktown robbery that went viral last year: ‘It was only supposed to be an a$$ whooping’

CHICAGO — “It was only to be an ass-whooping.” That’s what a multi-time convicted felon told Chicago cops who arrested him this week to face charges for allegedly attacking and robbing a man in a Bucktown alley last autumn.

Video of the attack in the 2000 block of North Damen went viral almost immediately after the brazen daytime attack on September 25, 2023.

The victim, Karl Michalak, 33, spoke with media outlets in the following days. He revealed that two robbers attacked him as he walked from 7-Eleven, munching on a slice of pizza. It was his first day on a new job at Red Eye Eyewear, and he was on his lunch break.

As he strolled up an alley, a man ran up from behind and clocked him in the head. He fell against a chainlink fence as the assailant continued to throw punches, knocking him to the ground. A second offender joined in, and they eventually escaped with Michalak’s phone and shoulder bag.

Officials say he went to the hospital for treatment the next day.

Surveillance video, first provided to CWBChicago, spread worldwide. Our Twitter post alone racked up a million views within hours. You may remember it:

In a year that saw robbery reports balloon 24% citywide, Chicagoans sympathized with Michalak. But the outrage faded, and the city moved on. The case appeared to be headed toward the “unsolved” file. That’s where the vast majority of this town’s robberies end up.

What very few people knew was this: Chicago police investigators had gathered swabs of genetic material and sent them out for DNA analysis. Those tests recently returned a match.

On Valentine’s Day, CPD officers went out looking for the man that the FBI’s DNA database allegedly linked to the crime: 33-year-old Andre Simmons. According to Simmons ‘ arrest report, they found him driving a car with no plates and no insurance in the 1200 block of South Central Park.

Prosecutors said during a detention hearing yesterday that he was the offender who scurried up and clobbered Michalak. Simmons had been released from parole barely three months before the attack. That case accused him of battering a police officer, according to court records.

After hearing the state’s allegations, Judge Kelly McCarthy detained Simmons in the interest of public safety. In her order, McCarthy wrote that Simmons “admitted his actions, saying it was only to be ‘an ass whooping.'”

He’s charged with robbery and aggravated battery in a public place. The second attacker remains at large.

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About Tim Hecke 378 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com