Gunmen rob Chicago woman, take more than Christmas gifts and cash

FOX 32 NEWS - Imagine walking home after Christmas shopping, with bags of presents in your arms, and someone sticks a gun in your face. That’s what happened to a woman in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, which is part of a series of armed robberies that's caught the attention of police.

"It was just.... the most terrifying experience,” said robbery victim Ellen Hartel.

Hartel was walking home in Humboldt Park Wednesday evening, carrying bags full of Christmas gifts for her family when suddenly two teenagers stepped out of the darkness.

"Suddenly behind me I heard a voice say give me your money. I turned around and there's a gun in my face,” Hartel said.

Hartel says she threw the bags and her purse on the ground, hoping to distract them and make an escape.

"I threw it at him and he said pick it up, pick it up! Really intense and angry, so I picked it up and handed it to him,” Hartel said.

A black Grand Jeep Cherokee then pulled up to the corner of Rockwell and Evergreen and the two teenage gunmen got in.

"And they slowly drove past me. I just stood there. I just froze. I didn't know, scream at that point? I was just standing there like please don't drive past me and shoot me and kill me,” Hartel said.

Chicago police say there have been five other armed robberies in the 14th District in the month of December, and they're investigating to determine whether any are related.

Police issued a community alert after an early Wednesday morning attack when four armed teens sexually assaulted a woman in her car, and then carjacked the vehicle.

For Ellen, though, the holiday season has now been shattered.

FOX 32: “They took more from you than just presents and your purse."

"Yeah, they took my sense of safety. They took my Christmas and they definitely made me feel like I can't be safe in my own neighborhood,” Hartel said.

Police don't have a good description of the two teens involved in Wednesday night's robbery because their faces were partly covered. But Hartel says they were very young, with one between 12 and 14 and the other between 14 and 16.