Armed robber busted after victim tells cops he was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet

James Potts | Cook County sheriff’s office

Chicago police were able to quickly track down an armed robber because his victim noticed that he was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet, officials said. Working quickly with the Cook County sheriff’s office, Chicago cops followed the ankle monitor’s GPS signal to locate him in Evanston.

James Potts, 23, was on electronic monitoring while awaiting trial for Class X felony armed habitual criminal and related gun charges, prosecutors said. Class X felonies are the most serious crimes in Illinois, short of murder.

Late Monday morning, a 41-year-old man called 911 to report that someone had just robbed him at gunpoint in the 1900 block of West Devon. The robber demanded the man’s money and threatened to kill him if he moved, prosecutors said in paperwork filed during Potts’ detention hearing.

After getting $150 in cash and the man’s keys, the robber drove away in a dark blue sedan.

The victim provided cops with the robber’s general appearance and recalled seeing “a black ankle bracelet, suspected to be an electronic monitoring device,” police said in Pott’s arrest report.

Acting on that hunch, Chicago cops dialed up the sheriff’s electronic monitoring office. A quick check of the sheriff’s monitoring system’s GPS data showed that Potts was at the scene of the robbery when it was committed, police said.

The sheriff’s team provided Chicago cops with updates on Potts’ location until they found him walking into a strip mall parking lot in the 800 block of Dodge in Evanston, according to the arrest report. He was sporting attire that matched the victim’s description, including Croc-style shoes and, yes, an ankle monitor.

Police said they saw him toss knotted bags containing suspected crack cocaine as they moved in. They found more crack in his 2010 Toyota Camry, along with a ski mask and a scale that could be used to weigh narcotics, they said. Judge Ankur Srivastava noted in his detention order that Potts was caught with the victim’s property, and a surveillance camera recorded the robbery.

Potts was just released from parole in August, the judge said, and he has three prior felony convictions, including for robbery and a gun crime.

He’s now charged with armed robbery and manufacture-delivery of cocaine. Srivastava ordered him to remain in custody while the case is pending.

The armed habitual criminal case Potts is awaiting trial for began with a traffic stop in the 1500 block of West Howard early on May 30.

After cops pulled him over for failing to stop for a stop sign, Potts crawled into the back seat, and a woman who was in the back seat crawled behind the wheel, officers alleged in their arrest report.

When they asked Potts who owned the gun that they found on the floor where they saw him reaching, he told the cops to ask the other two people who were in the car. The cops did, and neither person knew anything about the gun, the officers said.

Judge Kelly McCarthy ordered Potts to pay a $6,000 bail deposit to get out on the ankle monitor.

Court records indicate that the gun case he completed parole for in August also included allegations that he fired the weapon in Evanston, but prosecutors dropped reckless discharge of firearm charges in his plea deal.

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