By Caroline Kyungae Smith and Matthew Walberg
Suspect in alleged sex attack arrested after Great Dane, onlookers give chase.
When Agustin Zamora Jr. saw a girl being attacked in the yard next to his Logan Square home, he quickly ran outside to help.
But not without first calling for Scooby, his 160-pound giant of a Great Dane, whose size is certain to give pause to the orneriest of criminals.
Zamora and Scooby chased the suspect down Whipple Avenue in Logan Square. Joined by two other men, they cornered the man in an alley at George Street.
As Scooby growled and barked menacingly, Zamora called police, who arrived to take the man into custody.
“He is a good dog,” Zamora said Friday, a day after the dramatic events, as Scooby leaned against him. “Everybody knows him.”
Police charged Larry Smith, 28, of the 3700 block of South Wells Street, with attempted criminal sexual assault. Bond was set at $200,000 at a court hearing on Friday.
A day earlier, Zamora said he and Scooby were enjoying a quiet afternoon when he heard a cry of “Help me!”
“I poked my head out the door, and he had her pinned down under the pine tree right there,” Zamora said, pointing to the front yard next door.
The 14-year-old girl had gotten off of a Diversey Avenue bus near North Whipple Street, police said. As she walked toward her home, she noticed a man following her. When she got to the gate in front of her home, the man was running toward her, then caught her as she sprinted up the steps, according to police.
Throwing her to the ground, the attacker got on top of her and tried pulling her clothing off as she struggled and screamed, police said.
The man started to run after Zamora saw what was happening and yelled. Zamora threw on a pair of shoes, called for Scooby and ran outside.
“He was knocking over the garbage cans so I would fall over them or something,” Zamora.
Two men joined the chase and helped Zamora and his dog force the assailant to give up in an alley in the next block.
“I was not trying to be brave or anything, I just reacted,” Zamora said a day later. “If it was my mother or my cousin, I would want someone to do something.”
Scooby’s role in the rescue didn’t surprise people in the Northwest Side neighborhood, who often see the massive dog bounding alongside his master, unleashed.
“He’s a marvelous-looking dog,” said Pat Treacy, who lives nearby. “You remember him. And he would keep somebody at bay.”
Scooby, whose coat is deep gray, has blue-gray eyes and floppy ears. He is a gentle giant, according to Treacy.
“He always seemed to be a peaceful dog,” Treacy said, “but I guess I wasn’t doing anything to antagonize him.”
While the rescuers waited for police, Scooby barked away in a distinctive baritone, Zamora said.
“I use to call him Barry White when he was a puppy because his bark was so deep,” Zamora said.
Scooby didn’t bite Smith, and the girl had no serious physical injuries.
According to a police report, Smith told police that he was schizophrenic and denied having been arrested before.
Court records show that Smith has been arrested nearly 40 times since 2001, primarily on suspicion of drug offenses, ticket scalping and public urination. He was convicted of several felony drug offenses, the most recent in 2007, a crime for which he was sentenced to a year in prison.