COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Chatham man is accused of terrorizing his downstairs neighbor for years by breaking into her home, hiding a camera to take nude pics — and then trying to get her to buy them back for $300, prosecutors said.
Kelby Smith is also accused of taking unwanted photos of her through a kitchen window — and stealing the woman's laptop. Smith took a nude photo of the woman off that stolen laptop and sent it to one of her friends, prosecutors said.
Smith, 31, confessed to the multi-year scheme when police questioned him, and said he paid a security person $100 for access to the woman's second-floor apartment, where he put a camera in a hole in the bathroom ceiling, prosecutors said.
Smith said he hoped to be paid $300 to get rid of the photos, according to prosecutors.
It all started in August 2015 when the woman saw a camera flash coming from the porch outside her kitchen window, authorities said. She wore only underwear at the time.
About a year later, the woman noticed a hole in her bathroom ceiling right above her shower, Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Santini said during a bond hearing Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Ave.
The woman covered the hole with tissue paper and an old credit card, Santini said.
Around the same time, the woman returned home one day to discover an apartment door unlocked, prosecutors said. Someone had stolen a computer and removed the tissue paper and credit card from the hole in the bathroom ceiling. The woman asked building security to repair the hole, Santini said.
A short while later, she came home to find her back door unlocked and an old cellphone missing from her bedroom, according to prosecutors.
In March of this year, the 32-year-old woman received four photographs via text message from a phone number she didn't recognize, Santini said. In addition to pictures of the woman naked in her bathroom and wearing only underwear in her kitchen, there was a picture of the woman's bare breasts that had been stored on her laptop, according to prosecutors.
The woman soon received a series of texts from Smith, who claimed he'd been hired to take photographs of the woman and insisted she meet him in a hotel, Santini said.
Smith is accused of contacting the woman with two different cellphones, which detectives later traced back to Smith.
The woman filed a police report and changed her phone number.
In April, Smith sent a photo of the woman's bare breasts to a friend of hers with a note demanding the woman contact Smith, who was still using cellphone numbers unknown to the victim, Santini said. Smith later told police he procured the woman's contact list when he stole her old cellphone from her bedroom.
When police finally tracked down Smith this week, prosecutors said, he insisted he be interviewed away from his wife.
According to authorities, Smith admitted to entering the woman's apartment multiple times without her consent, taking multiple nude and partially clothed photos of the woman without her consent, sending a nude photograph to one of the woman's friends without her consent and stealing her cellphone.
Santini said the hole in the woman's bathroom was linked to a front closet in the Smith's third-floor apartment.
Smith, whose address is being omitted to protect the woman's privacy, is charged with residential burglary, disseminating unlawful video and nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images.
Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan on Thursday set bail at $150,000.