Suburban man describes attack by teen mob in Chicago

Although his face, arms and torso are full of bruises after a mob of perhaps 20 teens tried to rob him in Chicago this weekend, Krzysztof Wilkowski was joking about the attack on Monday.

“I have less bruising (than expected), so it must be the food,” the 34-year-old said, laughing. “I eat a lot of Polish food, it makes us stronger.”

The Northwest suburban man returned to work Monday in his insurance brokerage office. He was among several victims attacked this past weekend by a mob of teens in the city, police said.

Wilkowski, who asked that his hometown and workplace remain unidentified due to the nature of the crime, told police he was sitting on his scooter and checking his phone in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood about 7:30 p.m. Saturday. At first, the teens whipped a baseball at him, but he was soon surrounded by about 20 males in their mid- to late teens on the 300 block of Chicago Avenue, just east of Michigan Avenue. The teens began punching him and grabbing at his phone.

“I got away lucky because I could have lost an eye,” Wilkowski said.

His helmet was knocked off during the melee, and Wilkowski suffered several scrapes and bruises while fighting back. But he lost none of his personal belongings. He jokes that he was psychic Saturday evening when he purchased some shoes before the attack, but chose to have them shipped to his home.

Wilkowski's wallet and high-end sunglasses were tucked away in his scooter, so his phone was the only easy object to steal, he said. He added that he suspects the teens fled because he put up a fight and they feared the crime would start attracting attention.

“That's ridiculous; Attacking in a group like that,” he said. “Even if you get $100 or something, what does everyone get? Five dollars?”

Wilkowski called 911 immediately after they fled. He said police responded quickly, but they were not immediately able to catch any suspects.

Chicago police officer Daniel O'Brien said detectives think Wilkowski was one of the victims in four reported mob attacks in the downtown area. Authorities believe the same group of teens committed each attack, which did not seriously injure any of the victims.

Authorities also said such attacks are often coordinated through texting and social media, and Chicago police started taking measures to prevent such crimes about three weeks ago. Officials added that other major cities, such as Philadelphia, have also recently seen an increase in this type of crime.

Five youths from Chicago were charged in the attacks Monday. O'Brien said they occurred along the lakefront in Streeterville, the Gold Coast and the Magnificent Mile.

Wilkowski said the attack has not scared him away form Chicago, where he might like to move eventually.

“These things,” he said, “can happen anywhere.”

  Northwest suburban resident Krzysztof Wilkowski discusses the details of the attack, in which the teens knocked him off the scooter and tried to steal the phone he is holding. Elisabeth Mistretta/