Man mugged bicyclist in the West Loop, prosecutors say

Chicago — Prosecutors have filed robbery charges against a man who allegedly battered and tried to rob a woman as she took a break from riding her bike in the West Loop.

But during a bond hearing on Sunday afternoon, Justin Smith, 40, told Judge Charles Beach that the prosecutors had it all wrong.

“She attacked me,” Smith insisted. “That’s the God’s honest truth! So help me God!”

Justin Smith | Chicago Police Department

The 44-year-old woman and her boyfriend took a break in the 100 block of North Jefferson after biking along the river early Saturday afternoon, prosecutors said. She stayed with the couple’s bikes and backpacks while her boyfriend stepped away.

Smith eventually approached, saying, “ma’am, ma’am.” The woman ignored him, but Smith persisted, causing her to raise her hand and say, “No.”

Smith then allegedly grabbed a backpack from the boyfriend’s bike.

“No, you’re not taking it,” the woman replied before struggling with Smith to get the bag back, according to prosecutors. She screamed for help, and Smith allegedly punched her in the cheek and above her glasses, causing her right eye to bleed.

Some items fell from the bag during the scuffle, including the boyfriend’s phone, which Smith picked up and threw at the woman before leaving the scene, prosecutors said. Witnesses directed police to Smith’s location.

Smith said he was just walking by when he saw the backpack and picked it up. When the woman said that it was hers, he threw it back.

Beach noted that Smith “vehemently denied all of the allegations as the state was proffering them” but also pointed out that the police report lists five witnesses. He ordered Smith, who had never been arrested before, to pay a $5,000 deposit toward bail to be released on electronic monitoring.

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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 news@cwbchicago.com