The last time we told you about 11-time convicted felon Larry Banks was in January 2019. He was on parole for burglary at the time and had just been charged with burglarizing an Edgewater restaurant. Prosecutors dropped the case last month.
Banks was back in court Sunday. Prosecutors said burglarized three Uptown restaurants this month.
Area Three detectives issued a community alert last week to warn about a series of overnight break-ins to Uptown businesses that began on February 13. The burglar broke windows with bricks or his feet and stole money from the cash registers, often at Asian restaurants.
Banks, 46, is now charged with three of the five burglaries that police listed in the alert. He is suspected of participating in more.
During Bank’s bail hearing Sunday, Assistant State’s Attorney James O’Connor said surveillance videos show Banks burglarizing the three locations.
Late on February 17, Banks and another burglar broke two glass doors to enter DaNang Kitchen, 1019½ West Argyle, O’Connor said. They got away with $50 in coins.
A few hours later, Banks and another person used an object, possibly a rock, to break the glass door at China Cafe, 4818 North Sheridan, according to O’Connor. They got away with about $100, he said.
And on February 21, Banks broke the front door of Immm Rice & Beyond, 4949 North Broadway, with a rock and forced the register open, O’Connor continued. He allegedly walked out with the restaurant’s cash.
O’Connor said the videos showed Banks carrying a drawstring bag with a 2020 census logo during all three break-ins.
On Friday evening, a man called police to an apartment building on the 5000 block of North Kenmore because an intoxicated man was sleeping in front of his apartment door. He had told the man to leave several nights in a row before finally bringing in the police. Cops noticed that the sleeping man, Banks, had a drawstring bag from the 2020 census. They took him in.
Prosecutors charged Banks with three counts of burglary and criminal trespass. His public defender, Rosalee Inendino, said Banks lives with his father. (Update March 9: A man who identified himself as Banks’ father said in an email that Banks did not live with him and has never lived with him, contradicting the representations Inendino made in court.)
Judge Susana Ortiz set his bail at $40,000 and said he must go on electronic monitoring if he posts a 10% deposit bond.
In April 2011, prosecutors charged Banks with burglarizing a business on the 4800 block of North Broadway in Uptown. Banks took the case to a bench trial. Judge James Linn found him guilty and sentenced him to 14 years in prison based on his extensive criminal background, according to court records.
Banks got out of prison in May 2018 after serving half of that time. Just seven months later, prosecutors charged Banks with burglarizing Little India restaurant, 1109 West Bryn Mawr. Police said fingerprints left inside the restaurant came back to Banks.
Court records show Banks fought the case for nearly three years, serving as his own attorney for at least some of the time.
Last month, on January 6, prosecutors dropped the case. Banks allegedly began burglarizing restaurants again within weeks.
Before catching the 14-year sentence in 2011, Banks had been sentenced to two terms of 30-months for theft in 2009; 18 months for damage to school property in 2009; three years for narcotics in 2007; two years for narcotics in 2005; 4-1/2 years for theft from a person in 2002; four years for burglary in 1999; seven years for narcotics in 1996; 28 months for narcotics in 1995; and five years for narcotics in 1992.