A South Side man exchanged gunfire with a River North smokeshop owner during an attempted robbery in January, prosecutors said Thursday. Chicago police quickly identified the man as the robber and even arrested him in a different case six days later. But he was not charged with the robbery until after he and another man allegedly robbed a West Ridge cellular store at gunpoint last week.
Lamont Boyd entered Mythical Smokes, 21 West Ontario, around 1:45 p.m. on January 9 and pulled out a handgun, Assistant State’s Attorney Loukas Kalliantasis said. He allegedly took the employee’s phone and ordered him to get the store’s reserve cash from a safe in the back. While the cashier went into the back room, Boyd ordered another man to empty the register, Kalliantasis alleged.
That’s when the store employee emerged from the back room with a gun and started shooting at Boyd, Kalliantasis said. Boyd, 18, returned fire as he backed away and ran out the door. Police tracked the employee’s stolen phone to the 2100 block of East 70th Street, which is where Boyd lives, according to Kalliantasis.
The incident was recorded on video. Investigators used those images to locate the offender on CTA and CPD surveillance footage, too. Detectives distributed photos of the robber to police across the city and an 18th District sergeant identified Boyd by name on January 16, Kalliantasis said.
Oddly enough, Boyd appeared in felony bond court on January 16. In that case, prosecutors said Boyd parked a stolen car in a man’s private parking spot in the West Loop and walked away after the man asked him to move the vehicle. Cops arrived and found the car running with a handgun on the driver’s side floorboard. They arrested Boyd nearby.
He was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. He had misdemeanor cases pending at the time for criminal trespass to vehicle and criminal trespass to land. Judge Susana Ortiz set his bail at $10,000 with electronic monitoring.
Boyd went home on electronic monitoring, and investigators ran ballistics tests on the gun found in the stolen car. They determined that it was the gun that the robber fired in the River North smokeshop robbery, Kalliantasis said.
Despite that, Boyd was never charged in the case. The reason for the lack of charging is not known.
Last Friday, a Cook County judge removed Boyd from electronic monitoring, Kalliantasis said. Two days later, Boyd and Toyoun Hampton, 18, allegedly robbed a West Ridge cellular store at gunpoint.
Boyd and Hampton walked into Sunshine Phone Accessories, 2304 West Devon, around 8 p.m. and Hampton put his phone on the counter, Kalliantasis said.
Boyd allegedly went around the counter with a gun and demanded money. He took cash from the register, and both robbers led the employee into the back of the store, where another employee was seated.
Boyd and Hampton loaded 16 new iPhones into a backpack, Kalliantasis said. Boyd took an employee’s phone and an iPad. Then, the robbers escaped in a gray Nissan Pathfinder, according to Kalliantasis.
Police located the vehicle on 70th Street near Boyd’s home. Boyd and Hampton were allegedly sitting inside with the backpack used in the phone store robbery.
GPS records put Hampton’s phone in the area of the store around the time of the robbery. Videos on his phone show him and Boyd inside the Nissan one day after the hold-up wearing the same masks, hats, and other items that the robbers wore, Kalliantasis said.
Boyd was charged with robbery as a juvenile in 2020, but the state dropped the case, Kalliantasis said. Hampton was convicted of robbery as a juvenile in 2019.
On Thursday, prosecutors charged Boyd with aggravated discharge of a firearm, two counts of armed robbery with a firearm, and misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle. Judge Mary Marubio ordered him held without bail on those charges and for violating the terms of bond on his pending stolen motor vehicle and gun case.
Hampton is charged with one count of armed robbery with a firearm and misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle. Marubio also ordered him held without bail on the charges and for violating the bond terms in a pending domestic battery case.
Update: According to court records, Boyd’s electronic monitoring requirement was removed by Judge Edward Maloney on February 25. The reason for the discrepancy with Kalliantasis’ claim that EM was removed on March 11 is not clear.