COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A suburban man who sensed he was about to be robbed while trying to buy a used car snapped several photos of his suspected robber, pictures that led to an arrest and caused a judge to marvel at the thief's cluelessness.
"What would possess somebody to rob someone after their picture was taken?" an incredulous Cook County Judge James Brown asked during a bond hearing for the alleged robber.
It's not entirely clear if Khalil Wright, 19, knew his alleged victim had taken his picture. The victim also wasn't sure, saying his iPhone 5 photos were taken from a distance, including a zoomed-in closeup of Wright's face.
Either way, the victim got a clear shot of Wright, leading to his eventual arrest, prosecutors said.
It happened on Oct. 28 when the victim was set up by an online ad for a used car, prosecutors said.
After the 41-year-old Riverdale man showed up in the 8200 block of South Shore Drive, he got his phone out and took photos in anticipation of a raw deal, Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto told Brown.
"He took several photos, including a close-up of the defendant's face," Scaduto said.
Sure enough, prosecutors said Wright and an accomplice pulled out a gun and stole $450 from the man.
The judge interrupted Scaduto during the bond hearing when he heard about the victim's photos.
"Did he know his picture was being taken?" Brown asked.
The prosecutor started speaking again, but the judge cut her off.
"I'm just wondering if the defendant knew his picture was being taken," he went on in an ironic tone.
"I'd thought I had seen it all, I guess not," Brown said.
Wright, of the first block of 144th Street, who also goes by the name "Kushie," was arrested on Monday and charged with armed robbery.
The prosecutor said Wright was charged with the crime because of the photos. The victim was later able to identify Wright in a photo array, Scaduto said.
"Is the photo array from the victim's phone?" Brown asked.
When reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, the man Wright allegedly ripped off said it's possible, even likely, that Wright didn't realize he'd been photographed.
"I felt like something was wrong, so I snapped a couple pictures of him," the man said. "I don't even know if he knew I took them."
Wright is being held in lieu of $150,000 bond.