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The Burbank Beat was recently contacted by a woman named Susan, who asked that her last name not be used, seeking information about the well-being of a man she believes to be homeless.
Susan works in the MB Financial building (formerly Cole Taylor Bank) located at 5501 W. 79th Street in Burbank. Over the last several years she has come to know a man known as Ashley.
“Ashley is a homeless man that spends a lot of his time in Burbank,” Susan said.
According to Susan, Ashley would sometimes sleep behind the pillars of the drive-through portion of the bank. She said she saw Ashley most workdays hanging around in the vicinity of her workplace.
“I work four to five days a week,” Susan said. “I would give him a couple of dollars every day. If I did not see him in the morning, Ashley would wait until I got off of work and come by my car. This has been going on for at least three years. If Ashley missed one day, I was never concerned, I know I would see him the next day.”
Susan said she last saw Ashley Thursday, January 8 and has since become worried for his safety.
“I worked January 8th and gave him a few dollars. I did not see him the following Monday or Tuesday. I started getting concerned after an entire week went by without seeing him. I contacted the Burbank Police Department. The only thing [the police suggested] was to contact the hospitals. How can I contact the hospitals and tell them I am looking for a homeless man? I don't know his last name.”
According to a police source, Burbank officers are familiar with Ashley but haven’t seen him around town for the last several weeks. In addition to Burbank, he is known to frequent the Oak Lawn area as well.
Susan said in her quest to ascertain Ashley’s safety, she contacted local churches and homeless shelters but has not been able to locate him.
She described Ashley as having a dark complexion, in his late 30s or early 40s, approximately 6 feet tall and 140 pounds. “I believe he is mentally challenged in some form,” Susan added.
“My boss is from Burbank and so are several of the people I work with. I have heard stories from them about Ashley. They all say he is harmless. Some say his family left him. Longtime Burbank residents know much more about him [than I do],” Susan said.
According to others who know Ashley, he was frequently seen at the Speedway gas station on 79th Street and Central Avenue and often carried a basketball. He is also known to be a regular rider of public transportation including CTA busses and 'L' trains.
Over time, Susan has become something of a guardian angel to the man.
“When I saw him one morning last year during our polar vortex, I asked Ashley if I could take him to McDonald’s and buy him food and I would stay with him so he could warm up. He said no, he was fine. I asked him if I could bring him anything. Ashley said he would like some gloves.”
Ashley’s sudden disappearance bothers Susan greatly.
“Has anyone seen Ashley? Did someone take him in?,” Susan said. “I guess I would like to just know that Ashley is okay,”