Online fundraiser seeks to help private investigator who was attacked while on the job

Matthew Kulesza’s face is disfigured and will need reconstructive surgery.

SHARE Online fundraiser seeks to help private investigator who was attacked while on the job

Photos of Matthew Kulesza before and after the attack that left him badly injured.

Family of Matthew Kulesza.

Private investigator Matthew Kulesza was on a routine stakeout last month in far north suburban Antioch to see if a workers’ compensation claim was legit when he was allegedly attacked by a father and son who lived on the block.

“I thought I was going to die,” said Kulesza, 51, who was hit multiple times in the face but was able to summon police by cellphone and video record some of the encounter.

He suffered a crushed nose and cracked skull.

The person Kulesza was keeping tabs on lived a couple of blocks from where he was parked. Kulesza said he was simply waiting to see if the individual drove by. It was the second straight day he’d been parked in the neighborhood.

Russell Wright, 23, and Steven Wright, 62, are each charged with felony counts of robbery, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property, the Lake County sheriff’s office said.

The Wrights allegedly approached Kulesza, who was sitting in his car with a camera, and used a vehicle to block his car from escaping, the sheriff’s office said.

Because Kulesza hasn’t been able to return to work and will need expensive facial reconstructive surgery, his family set up a GoFundMe account. The money will support Kulesza as he tries to get his life back in order. There’s currently $4,715 in the account.

“I get shaky thinking about it,” Kulesza said of the Jan. 20 encounter. 

“I’m not like a hideous circus freak monster, but it’s bad enough that my family leaves the room before they start crying because they don’t want me to think I look hideous,” said Kulesza, who’s from Island Lake. 

Kulesza said he wasn’t carrying a gun that day because his license had just been renewed but was still in the mail.

The alternative scenario — the one in which he would have been armed — is also a scary thought, he said.

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