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Woman Sexually Assaulted In River North Bookstore, Husband Chases Attacker With Bat: Police

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Lizzie Schiffman/DNAinfo
Lizzie Schiffman/DNAinfo

Residents and business owners in Chicago's River North neighborhood are on edge after a man forced his way into the After-Words bookstore and sexaully assaulted an employee closing shop.

Police said the 42-year-old woman was closing shop in the 0-100 block of East Illinois Street around 10:15 p.m. when a man pretending to be a customer came into the store saying he forgot something inside. NBC Chicago reports the man pulled out a knife and forced the woman into a back area of the store.

The Tribune reports the suspect proceeded to trap her in a bathroom stall, smoked crack cocaine and assaulted her. The woman's husband was walking around inside the store and heard her screaming for help, prompting him to then fight the attacker.

According to the Tribune, the victim's husband then grabbed a baseball bat and chased after the attacker who was initially unable to escape through the locked door. The suspect reportedly grabbed the store keys off the counter before fleeing.

The woman was taken to an area hospital and was recovering Wednesday.

Meanwhile, several residents and people who work in the area told media that despite being near tony areas like the Magnificent Mile and the Trump Hotel, they've noticed an uptick in crime in recent months.

The owner of Jazz Mart Records next door told DNAinfo Chicago they wondered why the bookstore's hours were so late.

"We don't feel safe working until 9, that was a recent change for us," said Jazz Mart owner R.T. Edwards, noting they were trying to change their hours to close even earlier than 9 p.m. "There's no business then."

In a blog post from Wednesday morning, the shop said it was changing its hours and will now close daily at 6:30 p.m. until further notice.

Police describe the attacker as a black male between 30 and 40 years old, standing 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9 and weighing between 160 and 180 pounds. He was wearing a black T-shirt, brown shoes and blue jeans, and his hair was reportedly in an afro style.

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