28-year sentence for man who attacked senior couple walking from Blue Line station

CHICAGO — The man who viciously attacked two senior citizens as they walked home from a Northwest Side Blue Line station has been sentenced to 28 years in prison after a Cook County judge found him guilty of all charges in a bench trial at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Tomatae Sipes, 30, may spend even more time in prison. While awaiting trial in jail, prosecutors charged him with attacking and robbing another victim at a River North bank a few months before he targeted the couple in Irving Park. The outcome of that case is still pending.

Vicious attack

“We’re city people,” Bob Tataryn told CBS2 days after Sipes attacked him and his wife, Kitty. “We take the Blue Line as much as we can.”

On February 17, 2022, the couple, both 72 at the time, drove to the Irving Park Blue Line station and took the train downtown. They visited the Art Institute, then made their way back on the L and started to walk toward their car around 3 p.m.

The couple quickly realized a man was following them. Prosecutors say it was Sipes. He continued to follow them across Irving Park Road and down another street. They doubled back, fearing that he might be a carjacker, prosecutors said. He caught up with them as they tried to enter the back doors of businesses to get away.

Sipes immediately punched Kitty in the face, instantly knocking her to the ground.

“He hit her—left, right, left, right—broke her jaw and broke her wrists,” Bob told CBS2.

Then Sipes moved in on Bob, punching him over and over in the face until he fell to the ground, too. Sipes continued the attack, officials said, kicking Bob in the face several times. A witness called 911.

An ambulance took Kitty to a hospital for treatment. Bob drove himself there in the couple’s car. Prosecutors said Bob suffered a fractured nose and cuts. Sipes broke Kitty’s wrist and fractured both sides of her jaw.

Investigators built a case against Sipes using CTA video and Ventra card records. They arrested him about two days after the attack at the Irving Park YMCA. Prosecutors said Bob and Kitty could not identify him in photo line-ups. When cops arrested him, though, he was wearing the same boots and pants and carrying the same backpack as the attacker, prosecutors said.

Guilty verdict

Sipes denied knowing about the attack. He took the case to a bench trial before Judge Timothy Joyce. The judge found him guilty on all four counts of aggravated battery on December 6, according to court records.

Joyce sentenced Sipes on Friday, February 2, handing him consecutive 14-year sentences.

An attack on two people would typically result in a single term or concurrent sentence. But Joyce ordered Sipes to serve the time back-to-back, citing an Illinois law that gives judges that authority if “it is the opinion of the court that consecutive sentences are required to protect the public from further criminal conduct.”

Sipe’s 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. 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 the Tataryns.

Bank allegations

He is still fighting another case stemming from an alleged incident at the Fifth Third Bank, 33 West Huron, on November 1, 2021. Prosecutors say Sipes became upset when the bank told him there was no money in his account and that he should contact Social Security to resolve the issue.

Instead of doing that, Sipes allegedly threatened to “f**k everyone up until I get my money.”

He proceeded to tear up the bank, officials said, breaking three computer monitors, three phones, a money machine, the front door, and a window. Damage totaled over $3,600. Prosecutors charged him with robbery, aggravated battery, and criminal damage in that case.

His next court date in that matter is April 5. Judge Joyce is handling it, too.

About Tim Hecke 323 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