Eric Puetz says he likes riding his bike to work every day — from Arlington Heights to Logan Square — because "you see the city in a different light."
But Puetz, 51, said he was outraged by what he saw on the Northwest Side Thursday evening: A man wrestling with a 75-year-old woman on the ground, then grabbing her purse and running away.
Puetz said he took off after the mugger and stayed on his trail across a parking lot and into an alley, even when the suspect claimed to have a gun. He finally tackled the man in the 3000 block of North Karlov Avenue, about two blocks away, and held him until police arrived.
“I don’t think I had a choice, she was under five feet tall,” explained Puetz, who owns a bicycle shop in Logan Square. “He has only one place he belongs and we’re going to put him there.”
During the chase, the mugger repeatedly told Puetz he had a gun so he stayed about 30 feet behind. “Do you tell someone you have a gun three times? The third time was time to take him down,” Puetz said.
Puetz said he then yelled for someone to call police and lunged at the robber, landing on top of him. The robber yelled, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Puetz said. “He just had 220 pounds on top of him,” said Puetz, guessing the mugger weighed just 130.
Puetz said he briefly met the victim — the "young lady" — at the police station and she was very thankful. "I was happy to get involved. ”
Police said the victim suffered injuries to her right thumb and three fingers on her left hand, but refused medical treatment. The suspect, a 34-year-old man, lives less than two blocks from where he was arrested.
Puetz said there was another victim in the crime, the city of Chicago. “The police had to change their entire day for this clown,” he said. “He was not given God’s blessings of brains. . . There are just certain things that aren’t acceptable.”
He added that he still plans on biking the 21 miles to work every day. "A bike connects you to your surroundings,” he said. “ That’s why I choose to bike, it’s the most enjoyable way and it paid off last night.”