CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago woman is pleading for the safe return of her beloved dog after the animal was taken by carjackers at a West Loop gas station last month.
CBS 2’s Jermont Terry spoke with the victim Wednesday.
At 5:13 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, Lilliana Palacios pulled into the Shell gas station at the northeast corner of Van Buren Street and Racine Avenue to pick some packages that had been delivered to an Amazon Hub there.
Palacios took the keys out, but left the doors of the SUV unlocked with her puppy inside. What played out next left her bruised and heartbroken.
Surveillance video shows a man wearing a yellow jacket casually walking up and jumping into the driver seat of Palacios’ Jeep. When Palacios opened the door of the SUV, she was met with the stranger.
“I said: ‘What you doing in my car? Get out of my car,'” Palacios said. “He said: ‘Give me the key! Give me the key!'”
When Palacios refused to give up the keys, the robber jumped over the seat and started beating her, demanding the keys.
“My key was in my pocket, so when he pulled me, I fell – so he came to me and started kicking me,” Palacios said. “Then my key fell from my pocket.”
Palacios refused to give up the keys because in the back seat was her sweet Bella, a 4-month-old shih tzu puppy.
“That’s why I decided to fight with him, because I was thinking about Bella,” Palacios said.
As the man attacked her and demanded her keys, Palacios recalls making eye contact with a woman at the Shell station parking lot who was looking on.
“I start asking for help. She said, ‘Help for what?'” Palacios said. “I understand nobody wants to get involved, but that’s the reason things are now happening in Chicago – because nobody cares about others.”
The robber dragged Palacios as she hung from the Jeep. He kicked her out blocks away.
Palacios has a broken finger and bruises.
“But of course, he messed up my back,” she said.
Meanwhile, Bella has not been seen since. Palacios is hoping whoever has Bella will think of the void in her heart.
“Put your hand in your heart and bring me back Bella, because Bella – I’m her mom,” Palacios said.
As for the man responsible for stealing Palacios’ Jeep, beating her, and causing her pain, she had a message.
“Turn your life around,” she said. “Have a better life.”
The incident left the 30-year Chicago resident with less faith in her city.
“Now I say, what am I doing here?” Palacios said. “I don’t want this kind of life.”
The gas station where Palacios was carjacked and attacked is located in a busy area right along the Eisenhower Expressway, and near the Racine Avenue CTA Blue Line stop and the Credit Union 1 Arena. A busy Target store is also located next door on Van Buren Street.
Police found Palacios’ Jeep a few days after the carjacking. But Bella remains nowhere to be found.
Palacios said she authorized police to release surveillance video of the attack in hopes of Bella coming home, and also of the assailant being found.
Anyone with information is asked to call Area Three Detective Mudd at (312) 744-8263. Anonymous tips can be submitted at CPDTIP.com.
Anyone who sees the suspect should not approach, and should call 911 right away.