All Chris Stach wanted to do was have a peek at LaGrange’s new library. Instead, he got a trip to the hospital.
On Tuesday, March 28 just after 7 p.m. while walking home from work from LaGrange to Brookfield, Stach?”a Landmark columnist and feature writer and Brookfield’s unofficial historian?”was mugged by an unknown assailant.
The attack took place on the athletic field directly east of the Rich Port YMCA, 31 E. Ogden Ave. in LaGrange. Stach said he was cutting across the field as a shortcut to the new library located at 405 Shawmut Ave.
As he reached the ballfield in the northeast corner of the park, Stach was tackled from behind and slammed face-first into the infield. The force of the blow broke his nose and cracked a his right eye socket. He also suffered a cut on his forehead requiring 12 stitches.
“He pinned me down, put his arm around my neck and said, ‘Gimme your money,'” Stach said. “I started yelling for help, and he started choking me until I couldn’t breathe.”
While Stach couldn’t remember if the assailant struck him after knocking him down, LaGrange Police Investigator Robert Wardlaw, who was one of the officers responding to the scene, said Stach looked like “he got hit several times. He was beat pretty bad.”
The man never found Stach’s wallet, which contained no money, but apparently took a small pouch that contained three or four dollars in loose change, according to Stach.
“Suddenly, he got off and left,” said Stach who was unable to provide police with a description of his attacker, since he was face down during the entire ordeal.
Bleeding from his face and nose, Stach made his way to the library, which was, according to Wardlaw, “literally just 100 yards away.”
Library staff called paramedics, who transported Stach, 53, to LaGrange Memorial Hospital. He was released from the hospital last Friday afternoon. According to Stach, doctors have said that he’ll need some plastic surgery to repair his broken nose.
“I felt like I was being slammed into by a Chicago Bear,” Stach said.
Wardlaw said that LaGrange Police get few reports of crime at the field behind the YMCA, and said this attack was likely an instance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“At night when they shut down the lights it’s dark, so many people don’t cut through there,” Wardlaw said. “This was probably a crime of opportunity; he happens to be there when the other guy is walking by. Unfortunately, he was the victim of a pretty brutal beating.”