Ernie Aimone: Veteran working as pizza delivery man, 81, 'sucker-punched' and carjacked by Chicago teen

Ernie Aimone: Veteran working as pizza delivery man, 81, 'sucker-punched' and carjacked by Chicago teen
Ernie Aimone was punched from behind while he was crossing a street (ABC7/Screengrab)

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: An 81-year-old pizza delivery man claimed he was robbed and carjacked on Wednesday, April 10, in Chicago's Northwest Side. 

Ernie Aimone was apparently crossing a street in the Jefferson Park neighborhood after delivering a pizza when a man approached him from behind and attacked him. 

While talking to ABC7 the elderly man recalled, "They said, 'Gimme the keys, gimme the keys'. And they sucker punched me from behind, hit me in the face. I was afraid for my life."

Police arrested a teenage suspect

The punch sent the Vietnam War veteran sprawling to the ground, and he remained face down in the street to stave off any more attacks as the suspects took off in his car. 

Chicago police responded to the incident shortly after 9 pm on Wednesday and entered the license plate number of Ernie's carjacked vehicle, a 2015 Hyundai Sante Fe, into the system. 

Hours later, his car was spotted by state police on an expressway and they attempted to stop it, but the carjacker continued to drive.

After a chase, the Hyundai crashed, leading to serious damage. Police arrested a teenage suspect and are in pursuit of potential accomplices.

Ernie Aimone's car was demolished (ABC7 video screengrab)
Ernie Aimone's car was damaged after it crashed (ABC7/Screengrab)

Ernie stated that even though the incident has left him extremely terrified, he intends to return to work as soon as he has a driveable vehicle.

"I got a son and a daughter. I gotta live for them," noted the veteran, as per the New York Post

His daughter, Robyn Aimone, was relieved the incident did not result in a tragedy. She told ABC7, "It could have been a lot worse. I don’t know what I would do without him."

Ernie is well-liked by both coworkers and customers and has been delivering pizza for Joe's on Higgins for the past 40 years.

"He’s like family to us. He’s seen me grow up from very young. He worked for my Dad," said Frank Demonte with Joe’s on Higgins. 

His wife, Gina Demonte, shared, "Ernie’s very special to us. Always has been." 

GoFundMe set up to help Ernie Aimone get a new car

The community has now come together to help Ernie get a new car as his insurance company refused to cover the damage since the incident took place while he was working, according to the GoFundMe campaign established by the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce. 

"He’s like a local legend," president of the chamber, Dan Ciolino, said, adding, "He’s been loyal to Joe’s for 40 years. He served our country. He deserves our support in his time of need."

At the time of writing, the campaign had raised $42,374 of its $75,000 target. 

"Ernie proudly served his country, and has been delivering to our community for years; and now it’s time for us to deliver for him!" states the page. 

Internet reacts to the incident

One wrote, "Imagine serving your country and then watching it turn to crap right before your eyes. I hope we can turn this all around before we reach the point of no return."

Another noted, "Pretty simple. Start punishing criminals."

A person remarked, "It is already sad enough that a veteran has to work at this age. On top of it, this makes it worse!"

"OMG !! Only bcz he used his military trained mind & wisdom of laying low he survived ! senior citizen , lawful, hard working A Veteran for heavens sake!" expressed an individual. 





This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.

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