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HAMMOND —  Felony charges have been filed against five people, including 3 teenagers, after police say a teenage boy was ambushed, beaten and robbed the night of Dec. 8 at the Jean Shepherd Community Center, allegedly because he wouldn't stop texting an ex. 

Charges of robbery resulting in bodily injury and battery resulting in moderate injury, both felonies, were been filed Wednesday in Lake Criminal Court against:

  • Marcelo Miguel Mendiola, 17, of East Chicago;
  • Kashon Christopher Prather, 16, of East Chicago;
  • Clarence Triplett Jr., 23, of East Chicago;
  • Julio Jose Velez, 19, of Hammond
  • Victoria Jessica Alvarez, 17, of Hammond

Hammond Police Lt. Steven Kellogg confirmed Thursday that the juveniles in this case have been charged as adults in Lake Criminal Court. 

The victim, 17, told police two girls he knew from Morton High School texted him that night to hang out, so he picked them up in his black Mustang and they drove around town "cruising" before they asked him to drive to Jean Shepherd, court records state. 

When the three arrived, the victim parked next to a blue Tahoe and let the two girls out of his Mustang. That was when Mendiola allegedly grabbed him and began choking him from behind.

Mendiola is the current boyfriend of the victim's ex, Alvarez, police said in the affidavit.

A black Toyota then pulled up and four other people attacked the victim and started to beat him, a witness said.

At one point, Mendiola allegedly had the victim in a chokehold and forced the victim to apologize to his ex, apparently for repeatedly contacting her despite being blocked on social media, records show. 

The victim's iPhone 8, a Fossil chrome watch, and $60 cash were taken from him during the incident. 

One of the girls who brought the victim to Jean Shepherd said she was asked to do so by the victim's ex.

She said Prather told her to stay quiet about the robbery, court records show. Triplett allegedly stomped on the victim's head and Velez took his cellphone, a witness told police. 

Another girl who brought the victim there told police she was contacted on Snapchat by Alvarez because she "wanted her boyfriend (Mendiola) to talk to the victim to tell him to stop texting her," the affidavit stated. 

The victim suffered a concussion, black eye and body soreness and was treated at Community Hospital in Munster. 

Two of the suspects, Triplett and Velez, are listed on Lake County's Top 10 Most Wanted list for February. 


Public safety reporter

Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.