Teamwork: Phone thief caught after witness trips him with foot, prosecutors say

James Killingsworth was arrested on the 1100 block of North State, prosecutors said. | CPD; Google

Felony charges have been filed against a man who allegedly stole a woman’s phone near the Gold Coast — only to have his plan foiled by a witness who stuck out her leg to trip him as he ran from the scene.

Assistant State’s Attorney Bob Groebner said the victim was walking in the 1000 block of North State around 3:30 p.m. Saturday when James Killingsworth walked up behind her and grabbed her phone from her hand. Then Killingsworth ran away, Groebner said.

But the 26-year-old didn’t get very far.

When the victim started screaming for help, a witness noticed what was happening, and she stuck her foot out to trip Killingsworth as he passed by, according to Groebner. Killingsworth fell and allegedly dropped the phone.

Meanwhile, a police sergeant who happened to be across the street saw what happened and intervened.

“When I get out of these handcuffs,” Killingsworth allegedly told an officer at the scene, “I’m going to beat your b*tch ass.”

Killingsworth then kicked a cop in the groin, according to Groebner.

Prosecutors charged him with felony theft and aggravated battery of a police officer.

Judge David Navarro listened to the state’s allegations and then noted that the alleged crime “seems different than just a theft.” The judge suggested that the incident might be properly classified as a more serious robbery offense.

Navarro then set bail at $25,000. Killingsworth will need to post a $2,500 deposit bond to get out of jail. The court’s pre-trial services officer had suggested that Killingsworth be given “maximum” bail conditions.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is