MERRILLVILLE | Two Merrillville men are accused of stealing cash and cigarettes Tuesday from a Merrillville gas station and battering two employees.
Tremaine Moore, 20, and Morris Burdette, Jr., 19, were charged Wednesday with robbery, two counts of battery and two counts of confinement in Lake Criminal Court.
About 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, the men entered the GoLo gas station, 6085 Cleveland St., police said.
One of the men was carrying what appeared to be a rifle and the other had pepper spray, court documents state. Both men allegedly wore masks.
The two employees working at the time were sprayed with pepper spray and struck in the face with the weapon, the documents show.
Moore and Burdette allegedly demanded cash and forced the employees behind the store counter.
One of the employees opened the register. Moore and Burdette took money and cigarettes before they fled the store, police said.
An employee told police Burdette's mask fell during the incident, and the employee recognized Burdette as a person who had been ejected from the store on a previous occasion.
Officers searched for the suspects with the assistance of an Indiana State Police canine unit. The suspects were arrested at a Merrillville home.
Pepper spray and cigarettes were recovered at the residence, court documents state.
Jim Lilley, Merrillville's chief of detectives, said a third person was involved in the robbery. Police expect to present charges against that person to the Lake County prosecutor's office, he said.
While charges have been filed in one Merrillville armed robbery case, Merrillville police also are investigating a separate incident at Cigarette Outlet, 1501 W. 81st Ave.
A man wearing a mask, a blue hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans entered the store about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, Lilley said.
The person displayed a handgun and demanded cash.
The suspect received an undetermined amount of money and fled the business.
Police were unable to locate the suspect.
Anyone with information about the Cigarette Outlet robbery can contact Merrillville police Lt. Jeff Snemis at (219) 769-3531.