Second man charged with bank app robbery scheme on the Mag Mile

Lamar Smith (Chicago Police Department, Gruznov)

CHICAGO — Authorities have charged a second man with robbing people along the Magnificent Mile by hijacking their banking apps and transferring large sums of money without permission. We told you about Lamar Smith being charged in connection with two of the crimes last month. Now, prosecutors say 21-year-old Kyir Walker worked as Smith’s accomplice.

Chicago police warned about similar crimes on the Mag Mile and Lakeview in January. Men who claimed to be raising money for a children’s charity or “bucket boys” took control of victims’ phones to transfer a small donation via banking apps, but they actually transferred far more money.

CPD warned that robbery teams were known to work outside the Nike Store, 669 North Michigan. And that’s where officials said Smith and Walker targeted two men on separate dates.

On March 20, a 20-year-old Gold Coast resident told police that two men took his phone as he accessed his Chase app outside the Nike Store. Smith blocked the victim from taking his phone back while Walker transferred $500 from the victim’s bank account, a CPD report said.

Smith and Walker worked with a third man as they targeted a 37-year-old Uptown man at the same location on April 6, prosecutors claim. He told the police he was walking when three men asked him for donations. He agreed to transfer $5 to their cause, but officials said Walker snatched away his phone after he unlocked this Bank of America app.

Walker Zelled $2,000 from the man’s account to an account with a woman’s name, according to his CPD arrest report. The woman’s name resembles an email address associated with the account that allegedly received the victim’s money on March 20th.

The second victim told police that he continued to receive text messages from the robbers, “taunting” him for being suckered.

According to the report, the victims identified Walker in photo line-ups. Detectives forwarded his information to cops in the Lakeview-based Town Hall (19th) District so they could keep an eye out. Officers assigned to the area for a recent Cubs game arrested Walker in the 3500 block of North Clark.

Prosecutors asked Judge Charles Beach to detain Walker to assure the public’s safety. Beach nixed that idea and released Walker with a nighttime curfew instead. He is charged with two counts of robbery.

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