Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Man Charged With Halsted Mugging Is No Stranger To Robbery, Prison, Or Boystown

A collection of Edward R. Smith's mugshots | Chicago Police Department
Edward R. Smith, the 22-year-old charged with robbing a man on Boystown’s Halsted bar strip last week, is no stranger to being arrested, to robbery, or to prison, according to court records.

Back in 2012, he reportedly beat up and robbed a passenger on-board a CTA bus in the 3500 block of North Ashland. The judge gave him a gift in exchange for his guilty plea: Three years of probation instead of prison time.

Just four months later, Smith was arrested for shoplifting at Macy’s on State Street—that's not how probation is supposed to go—and he was sent off to serve a three-year prison term.

Released after serving a fraction of his sentence, Smith has been arrested four times in the past two years, according to Chicago police records.

Two of those times, he gave his home address as The Center on Halsted—-a massive LGTBQ service agency at 3656 North Halsted.

And one of those arrests was for battering another client inside the Center itself. Charges were dropped when the victim failed to appear in court.

Funny Story…Or not so funny, we suppose.

At a CAPS meeting last August, a resident asked why criminal arrestees list local service agencies such as the Center on Halsted as their “home.”

Officer Tom Walsh, who was leading the meeting, stated that he had been in the police district for many years and he had never seen the Center on Halsted listed as an offender’s home address.

A CWB Chicago editor in the audience rolled his eyes at that statement. Smith had used the Center as his home address twice already in 2016.

When Walsh is not working for the police department, he runs a private security firm. The firm received $137,850 from the Center on Halsted for security services in 2014 and another $136,793 for security services in 2015, according to the Center’s tax records. Last year’s tax information is not yet available.