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$500K bond for man accused in Near North purse-snatching

Tribune reporter

A Chicago man chased down by a trio of bystanders Saturday after allegedly snatching a woman's purse on the Near North Side was ordered held on $500,000 bond today.

Richard D. Mendoza, 31, of the 1600 block of North Talman Avenue, was given that bond by Cook County Criminal Court Judge Israel Desierto in Cook County Central Bond Court today. His next court date is Nov. 30.  He is charged with strong-arm robbery and battery, police said.

According to the state's attorney, Mendoza grabbed the woman by her neck and placed her in a chokehold – resulting in her losing consciousness at some point during the attack. Items in the woman’s purse included an iPhone, a wallet and car keys, according to court documents.

Mendoza is on parole and was wearing an electronic ankle bracelet when he was arrested, police said. He has 14 prior arrests and four convictions, police said — one for armed robbery, one for strong-arm robbery and two for residential burglaries.

The victim, a 44-year-old resident of the Near West Side, was walking on East Erie Street near North Wabash Avenue when Mendoza allegedly attacked, kicking and punching her before stealing her purse, police said. The victim was treated and released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Only two of the people who chased Mendoza saw the attack, but all three said they heard the victim’s screams.

Angela Deleon, who works for a valet parking company nearby, said she heard the woman yell and saw Mike Hochhauser chasing Mendoza. Deleon, 38, joined in the pursuit, calling 911 to give a description of Mendoza before returning to the victim, who was still lying on the ground, conscious but crying.

Meanwhile, Kris Frieden, a tourist from suburban Indianapolis, was riding in his minivan with his wife when he heard a "blood-curdling scream" and saw Mendoza running toward Michigan Avenue, followed by Hochhauser.

Frieden, 44, hopped out and ran after them. The three darted across Michigan Avenue, dodging cars that had a green light, he said.

Frieden said he and Hochhauser briefly lost Mendoza when he ducked into an alley, but then saw him a few moments later as he ran back toward Michigan Avenue.

Mendoza hopped in a cab, but Frieden and Hochhauser blocked the rear passenger doors and yelled at the driver to stay put, they said. Police arrived a few moments later and arrested Mendoza.

Twitter: @tribdoyle


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