MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee police are investigating an armed robbery that happened behind a residence near 18th and Greenfield on Friday morning, January 9th -- and they believe the early morning crime spree is linked somehow to prostitution.
It all started around 6:45 a.m. Friday morning when a 31-year-old woman was taken against her will and put into a van.
Sean Galladay is not surprised to hear a woman was abducted and unwillingly taken for a wild ride in that van.
"I'm very familiar with the situation. I've been living here for a year now. In the winter months there are only two girls -- one girl comes out at night, and the other girl comes out all day," said Galloday.
Milwaukee police say the driver who had the woman in his car also robbed a 44-year-old man at gunpoint behind a house. It's not clear when or how the woman got into the van but she was considered a victim. Galladay wonders if it's the prostitute he's befriended.
"Last night about 8 p.m. we saw her get into a vehicle, an SUV or a van and after that we haven't seen her," said Galladay.
Some in the neighborhood say they are trying to help the young drug-addicted women they see working the streets each day and night.
"We're trying to help them. Me, my fiance and my neighbor right here James are all trying to help these girls. I'll take you somewhere to help you. There are clinics, rehab clinics -- things you get help with so you don't have to be on the street. They don't want the help because they're too addicted," said Galladay.
So far neighbors say police are helpful, but the street life and addiction is too powerful. If the women Galladay belives may have been the most recent victim comes back, he will try again.
"Really concerned because you don't know who's car you're getting into. They don't know the person, they go to the window, ask if they have money and get into the passenger side," said Galladay.
At about 7:25 a.m., officers spotted the van near 16th and Lincoln. The suspect refused to stop and a pursuit was initiated.
During the pursuit, the suspect’s vehicle hit a citizen’s vehicle near 4th and Becher. The citizen suffered non-life threatening injuries. The suspect’s vehicle eventually stopped near 8th and Windlake -- where the 23-year-old male suspect fled on foot but was arrested a short time later.
The female victim was found unharmed and officers recovered the firearm used in the robbery. Police say no one ended up with serious injuries. The van driver ran a red light at one point before the crash. They did recover his gun and he is in jail now.