‘I pray for him:’ Prosecutors say suspect in robbery spree put gun to woman’s head at laundromat

Data pix.
Antonio Smith Jr.

Antonio Smith Jr.

MILWAUKEE -- Charges were filed Wednesday, Sept. 25 against Antonio Smith Jr., 19, accused in connection with a string of thefts in September. Prosecutors said Smith shot a woman at a laundromat in a desperate attempt to steal cash.

Smith faces the following counts:

  • Attempted armed robbery, habitual criminality repeater
  • First degree recklessly endangering safety, habitual criminality repeater, use of a dangerous weapon
  • Possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony, habitual criminality repeater
  • Armed robbery, habitual criminality repeater
  • Vehicle operator flee/elude officer

Police responded to Lloyd's Dry Cleaners and Big Load Laundromat on Teutonia Avenue near Hampton Avenue on Sept. 11.

"It's crazy that something like this did happen," said Levell Green-Brown.

"They taped off everything, and stuff like that," said Frieda Walton with Lloyd's Big Load.

Lloyd's Dry Cleaners and Big Load Laundromat

Frieda Walton

Frieda Walton

Prosecutors said Smith put a gun to a woman's head, attempting to rob her as she did laundry.

"He told her to, 'Give me your purse,' and she said, 'No,'" said Walton. "She clinched her purse, and he shot her in the foot."

Walton helped the wounded woman.

"I'm just thankful she is OK," said Walton.

Prosecutors said Smith then traveled roughly three blocks, where, five minutes later, he found his next victim.

Charles Folds

Charles Folds

"I tried to stay calm," said Charles Folds. "I turned around and saw him standing there with a gun on me."

Folds said, fearing for his life, he gave up what he had.

"I kept telling him I didn't have a whole lot of money," said Folds. "Just, 'Don't shoot.' When he was done, he told me to go lay down on the side of the car and count to 20."

Those impacted by Smith's alleged crime spree said they were happy to hear he was arrested and charged.

"I pray for him," said Folds. "There is still hope for him. Even though I'm disappointed, feel bad that he could have killed me, I still have to forgive him."

Police were able to arrest him after a pursuit involving a stolen vehicle a few days after the robberies.

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