It’s hard to decide which part of this story is more remarkable: that a Magnificent Mile department store now hires dogs to sniff customers for guns? That the guy who got busted by the canines this week was arrested seven months ago for having a pistol in another store nearby? Or that he was on electronic monitoring for allegedly attacking a security guard at yet another Mag Mile department store in January? We’ll let you decide.
Prosecutors say one of the gun-detecting dogs was on duty Monday afternoon when Derrick Latham, 23, walked into Neiman Marcus, 737 North Michigan. The pooch smelled a gun.
The canine handler notified store security to keep an eye on Latham. They were watching as he stuffed a belt and two belt buckles into his jacket and headed out the door without paying, Assistant State’s Attorney Loukas Kalliantasis said.
Security officers stopped Latham and allegedly found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun in his waistband. They also recovered the stolen merchandise, worth $995, five suspected Xanax pills, and 16 counterfeit $100 bills, Kalliantasis alleged.
Prosecutors charged him with felony retail theft and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon with a previous conviction.
Kalliantasis said Latham was on electronic monitoring for a pending felony charge of aggravated battery of a police officer. In that case, an off-duty cop working security asked Latham and another man to leave Nordstrom, 55 East Grand, because they were handing out fliers in January.
Latham allegedly punched the officer in his face twice as they went out the door.
Judge Charles Beach allowed him to go home by posting a $500 deposit toward his $5,000 bail with a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“You go to work and home and that’s it, you got it?” Beach asked during the January bond hearing.
“Yes, sir!” Latham replied enthusiastically.
“Do not go back to that Nordstrom,” Beach warned as he ordered Latham to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet under the chief judge’s pretrial release program.
Just four months earlier, Beach ordered Latham to stay out of Christian Dior, 931 North Rush, after police caught him with a loaded gun inside the store.
A Dior employee saw the weapon in Latham’s waistband as he tried on clothing. Then they saw him put the gun and a sweater into a black bag and sit down on a sofa inside the store. An employee flagged down a passing patrol car, and the cops arrested Latham after they found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun inside the bag, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors charged Latham with felony unlawful use of a weapon, but they quickly entered into a plea deal that reduced the charge to a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 80 days time served.
On Monday, Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Latham to stay out of Neiman Marcus. She said he could go home on electronic monitoring by posting a 10% deposit toward his $30,000 bail.