Venezuelan migrant abducted woman in the West Loop: prosecutors

Jheison Lazaro is seen with surveillance images of the suspect provided by CPD. (Cook County sheriff’s office, Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO — The man Chicago police have been hunting since a woman was attacked in the West Loop last month is a Venezuelan migrant living at a nearby shelter, officials say. And a CWBChicago reader helped police track him down.

Jheison Lazaro, 19, was on pretrial release for a felony shoplifting case when he attacked the woman in the 100 block of North Carpenter on April 14, officials said.

Lazaro grabbed the 38-year-old woman with both hands and dragged her into an alley around 5:24 a.m., according to prosecutors. He covered her mouth with one hand and wrapped his other arm around her waist to drag her about 20 feet into the alley, officials said.

The woman managed to bite Lazaro’s finger, prompting him to “violently” throw her to the ground and run away, according to a criminal complaint. A police report said the woman suffered contusions and bruises.

Chicago police released surveillance images of a suspect in the case twice, on April 26 and May 2. Following the second alert, a CWBChicago reader messaged us, reporting multiple sightings of the suspect wearing the same jacket outside the city’s migrant shelter at 344 North Ogden. We passed that tip on to the police.

CPD officers arrested Lazaro last week in the 200 block of North Sangamon. He lives at the migrant shelter at 939 West Lake and works as an Uber Eats delivery person, according to his arrest report.

While police called the case an attempted sexual abuse, prosecutors have not charged Lazaro with any sex crimes. Instead, he’s charged with kidnapping by force, unlawful restraint, and aggravated battery in a public place.

Judge William Fahy ordered him detained as a safety threat.

Shortly after arriving in the United States last September, Lazaro complained about all of the criminals he encountered as he made his way from South America to El Paso.

“They steal all of your money, and they threaten to kill you,” Lazaro told a reporter for Scripps News.

“Lazaro says there were days he didn’t think he would survive his journey from South America,” the reporter wrote.

Court records show Lazaro has been on pretrial release since February 2, when prosecutors charged him with felony retail theft from Macy’s, 111 North State. In December, prosecutors also charged him with misdemeanor retail theft from Nordstrom Rack, located at 24 North State. Prosecutors dropped that charge in January, according to court records.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is