Dec. 8, 1994
Vol. 14, No. 8

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    Suspect arrested in Nov. 23 carjacking

    Police have charged a suspect with aggravated carjacking in connection with the Nov. 23 carjacking of the vehicle of an elderly Hyde Park resident whose body was found several hours later on the lakefront at 64th Street.

    The suspect was identified as James E. Pugh (known as "Rico"), 41. Police said he was staying in the 5100 block of Ingleside Avenue and was a panhandler in the neighborhood. He was held without bail after a preliminary hearing on Saturday.

    A witness, who called police, saw the victim, Elsie Orlinsky, 80, being forced into her car, which was parked near Lake Park Avenue in the Hyde Park Shopping Center. When last seen, the car was headed west on 55th Street.

    At press time, police were still searching for the car, a 1992 four-door blue-green Oldsmobile 88 with Illinois handicapped license plate number LC 501.

    According to reports by the South East Chicago Commission, the incident occurred during a period of declining crime in Hyde Park. Statistics for the first 10 months of the year show that crime in Hyde Park has declined 23 percent compared with the same period of time in 1993. Over the past three years, the number of criminal incidents has decreased by more than one-third.

    "Regardless of statistics, we urge all residents of the neighborhood to use common sense, especially during the holiday season," said Robert Mason, Executive Director of the SECC. "Crowds tend to attract pickpockets, con artists prey on the good feelings of people, and burglars are always looking for unsecured property, whether in homes where people are away for the holidays or in offices where belongings are left unattended."

    Mason also urged residents not to give money to panhandlers. "It is far better to refer panhandlers to one of the nearby food pantries, homeless shelters or other social-service agencies, and to give to those charities yourself," he said. (See the Nov. 28 Chronicle for a list of area agencies that serve the needy. Copies are available in Administration 200.)

    Edward Kelley, manager of the Hyde Park Shopping Center, said that security has been increased for the holiday season and includes walking patrols in the shopping- center parking lots. "We've also asked for increased attention from University and city police, and they can be seen patrolling in and around the area on a routine basis."