Man participated in 2 armed carjackings while on an ankle monitor for gun, stolen car case: prosecutors

CHICAGO — Earlier this year, prosecutors asked a judge to detain 19-year-old Eric Smith as a public safety threat, saying he got caught with a loaded Micro Draco AK-47 pistol after running from the wreckage of a crashed, stolen car. Judge Charles Beach rejected the request and gave Smith a curfew and an ankle monitor instead.

That ankle monitor came in handy for Chicago police this week. They allegedly used its GPS history to link Smith to two armed carjackings that occurred when Smith was supposed to be inside his home.

Chicago police issued a community alert on Monday warning about four recent carjackings in the Hyde Park neighborhood that detectives linked to the same group of suspects.

Police said up to four masked men exited a vehicle to target victims who were near or inside cars. The group displayed guns, demanded the victims’ wallets and phones, and then drove away with their vehicles, according to the alert.

Eric Smith (Chicago Police Department)

Now, officials say Smith drove the crew’s approach and getaway car during two of those crimes: in the 5200 block of South Cottage Grove around 2 a.m. Sunday, March 31, and in the 1500 block of East 55th Street about 15 minutes later.

Last Monday afternoon, Chicago cops recognized Smith driving a Toyota Camry taken in one of those hijackings. They went to his home and found the hijacked vehicle in the alley, running with the keys still in the ignition, according to Smith’s arrest report.

The officers saw Smith inside the home, wearing his ankle monitor. Cook County’s home confinement unit, operated by the office of Chief Judge Timothy Evans, confirmed that Smith’s ankle monitor was at the location of both carjackings at the time of the crimes, the report said.

Once again, prosecutors asked a judge to keep Smith in custody as a safety risk. This time, Judge Maryam Ahmad granted their request.

She explained that Smith was already on pretrial release for three separate cases, including a juvenile stolen vehicle case for which he is serving probation and the gun and vehicular trespassing charge he picked up in January. Ahmad noted that both carjackings he is accused of participating in occurred during the overnight hours when Smith was supposed to be inside his home.

Court records show Smith was charged three times last year with criminal trespass to vehicles, a charge filed when someone is accused of being inside a car without permission. A case filed on January 12, 2023, was dropped by prosecutors eight days later. A case filed on February 6, 2023, was dropped by prosecutors three weeks later. A case filed on October 17 was dropped by prosecutors on November 20.

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Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is