Date and place of incident: February 2008, in the 6400 block of West St., Oak Lawn. Incident narrative: A 14-year-old girl was walking from school to meet her mother at a nearby parking lot when a man in a white van began trailing her slowly, according to an Oak Lawn police report. Delivery driver Samuel Velez, who had prior convictions for theft, criminal trespass and possession of a firearm, circled through side streets to get ahead of the girl and wait for her, court records show. Then Velez tried to lure her inside his van: "Hey baby girl, how you doing?" he said, motioning with his hand for her to get in, according to the girl's account to police. The girl tried to walk faster, putting her head down and saying "No" as Velez drove slowly alongside her. Finally she glimpsed her mother's car and broke into a run. Velez peeled away but the girl's mother followed and was able to get his license plate number, court records show. Oak Lawn police arrested Velez and the girl identified him in a line-up. "It was very hard to watch myself go from an independent 14-year-old that was fearless, into a scared child that needed to be by her father's side [at every] second," the teenager told a Cook County judge in an April 2010 victim impact statement. "After this day, my life was changed," the girl wrote. Court outcome: Convicted of child abduction, Velez was sentenced to two years in prison. He has filed an appeal. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Illinois Dept. of Corrections
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