Prosecutors say an 18-year-old man who racked up 25 arrests as a juvenile and who has 3 carjacking cases pending was part of an armed crew that robbed a Boystown convenience store at gunpoint in March. And when police arrested him, he allegedly said he couldn’t have been involved in the robbery because he was busy selling drugs at the time.
Deangelo Smith appeared in bond court on a charge of armed robbery with a firearm Friday afternoon. Judge Maryam Ahmad approved a prosecution request to hold him without bail.
The robbery occurred around 2:30 a.m. on March 9 at 7-Eleven, 3407 North Halsted in the heart of Boystown.
Two cars pulled up to the store’s front doors and three men wearing ski masks walked in. Two of them pointed guns at the clerk and said they “would blow his head off if he moved,” Assistant State’s Attorney Sean Kelly said.
Smith, wearing distinctive blue gym shoes, went behind the counter, cleared out the registers, and took a bunch of Newport cigarettes, Kelly continued. The robbers also cleaned out the clerk’s pockets before leaving in the two cars, one of which was a stolen Nissan, according to Kelly.
The robbery and the cars were captured on store video.
Illinois State Police troopers spotted the stolen Nissan a little while later and chased the car until it crashed on the West Side. Smith, wearing distinctive blue gym shoes and the same clothing as one robber, ran from the passenger seat and was arrested nearby, Kelly said. He allegedly had Newport cigarettes with him.
Smith’s brother, a juvenile, was driving and cops arrested him, too, according to Kelly.
During an interview with Chicago police, Smith initially denied that state troopers had chased him and said he was selling drugs at the time, Kelly said. He later admitted that he was in the Boystown store, that he took cigarettes, that it was him in the blue shoes, and his brother was driving the car, according to Kelly.
Investigators released Smith in March because the store clerk could not make it to the police station for an interview, Kelly said.
According to prosecutors, Smith was arrested 25 times as a juvenile and he was adjudicated delinquent of robbery and theft in 2018. He still has two cases pending in juvenile court – one for vehicular hijacking and aggravated robbery, the other for two separate hijackings, according to Kelly. But his arrest in March was his first as an adult.
Assistant Public Defender Michael Grady argued vehemently against the state’s no-bail petition, saying that Smith’s brain has not fully developed at the age of 18.
Judge Ahmad turned that argument around: “While his brain develops, we cannot expose the public potentially to violence. And for this young man’s safety … he cannot be on the street, at least right at this time.”