CROWN POINT — A 26-year-old man awaiting trial on armed robbery charges faces new charges in a stick-up last week at an East Chicago Burger King.
Keith F. Cleveland Jr. was charged Friday in Lake Criminal Court with armed robbery, a level 3 felony, and two counts of pointing a firearm, a level 6 felony.
Cleveland is accused of robbing a Burger King restaurant at 621 W. Chicago Ave. in East Chicago Nov. 22, according to court documents.
An employee told police a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a mesh mask and dark pants came into the restaurant, put a gun to her side and ordered her to open the register, the documents state.
The employee told the man she could not open the register, so he ordered the store manager to do it, the documents state.
The man stole about $616 from the register and then fled the restaurant, the documents state.
A gym bag found by police in the area contained a black mesh mask, a black hooded sweatshirt, blue sweat pants and several gold dollar coins.
Cleveland was detained by police walking briskly about a half-block from the restaurant, according to documents. He was breathing heavily and dressed in light pants and a dark hooded sweatshirt, documents state.
A search of the defendant turned up $827, documents state.
Cleveland is already facing two armed robbery charges in Lake Criminal Court on allegations he and a co-defendant robbed two tow-truck drivers in East Chicago in August 2016.
He was released on bond Oct. 4 after Judge Samuel L. Cappas agreed to reduce his cash bond from $1,500 to $250.
John Cantrell, a defense attorney for Cleveland, said Tuesday his client did not participate in the robberies of the tow-truck drivers.
Cantrell said he has not reviewed the state's evidence yet in the new case, but in his own investigation he learned none of the witnesses to the robbery said the suspect had dreadlocks. He said his client has dreadlocks.
He said Cleveland also lived in the neighborhood where the robbery occurred, so it wasn't unusual for him to be walking in the area.
Cleveland was previously convicted of criminal recklessness, a class D felony, in April 2011 and carrying a handgun without a license, a class C felony, in August 2012.