The wife of a prominent West Side pastor and Austin community activist was robbed at gunpoint in front of her Midway Park home Wednesday morning by an assailant wearing a yellow and gold construction vest.

Priscilla Hatch, wife of Rev Marshall Hatch of New Mt. Pilgrim Church, was robbed at around 6:40 a.m. Wednesday. She was unharmed but shaken up. In a phone interview with Austin Weekly News Wednesday afternoon from her home, Mrs. Hatch said she’s thankful to believe alive but will likely have nightmares of the crime.

Mrs. Hatch was leaving for work Wednesday morning carrying her purse to her car. She said a man in his late ’20s or early ’30s approached her car but she initially thought nothing of it, assuming he was some kind of city official. She said he pulled out a gun, pointed it at her and demanded her purse.

He grabbed it and took off and Mrs. Hatch said she started screaming. Rev. Hatch, who’s co-founder of West Side clergy organization The LEADER’s Network, said he heard his wife’s scream and headed to the street within seconds. According to Rev. Hatch, one of their neighbors cornered the offender, who waved his gun at the neighbor before jumping a fence and fleeing.

According to Mrs. Hatch, along with the yellow and gold vest, the robber had on black boots, a hoodie and camouflage-colored pants and a scarf that covered his face.

Mrs. Hatch said there were two other similar early morning robberies that occurred on their block within the past month. Her purse included her work and personal cell phone, credit cards and driver’s license, among other items. She said she’s already called to cancel those cards and plans to get a new license.

“I’m not even worried about that because the outcome could have been worse for me and my neighbor,” she said.

According to Mrs. Hatch, a female neighbor in the area was robbed three weeks ago, and a male neighbor who lives on the block behind their home was also robbed a gunpoint. Police arrived “very quickly” this morning after being called, Mrs. Hatch said.

“This is very sad. We’re all just trying to come together now because this needs to stop,” she said. “I don’t know what to say. I’m just grateful and thankful to be alive.”

Rev. Hatch said he wants to warn the community about this string of robberies and warn neighbors to be careful. Mrs. Hatch said she especially wants to warn the women of the community since they appear to be the main targets.

“She was disarmed thinking that this was a utility official working with the city or something,” Rev. Hatch said. “After I took her inside I went out to look for the guy and there were scores of people wearing those safety vests. This guy obviously knew what he was doing and had this planned out. This was a rouse. The people in the community just need to be mindful.”

Anyone with information should contact the Chicago Police Area North Division Violent Crimes at 312-744-8261

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com