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Felon charged in armed robbery Friday of Rich's gas station

Felon charged in armed robbery Friday of Rich's gas station


CROWN POINT — Police allege a 31-year-old felon committed the armed robbery Friday of Rich's gas station.

William Evans, of Lake Station, was charged Saturday in Lake Criminal Court with armed robbery on allegations he threatened a cashier with a knife and demanded money Friday morning at Rich's gas station, 4301 Central Ave., in Lake Station.

Christina Harris, Evans's 32-year-old girlfriend, and Harris's 60-year-old mother, Patricia Williams, are both charged with assisting a criminal, a Class A misdemeanor, on allegations they hindered a police investigation of the robbery.

Police were dispatched to the store 9 a.m. Friday after receiving reports of the robbery, court records state. A witness told police the robber displayed a small knife and demanded the cashier open the store's register.

The robber grabbed the register's cash and fled the store in a white Chevrolet Camaro, which was parked in a nearby alleyway.

The robbery was captured on surveillance footage. A still photo of the suspect taken from the video was posted to social media by the Lake Station Police Department. Police received several tips from residents identifying the suspect as William Evans, records state.

Detectives learned from Portage police Harris was Evans's girlfriend. Harris and her mother, Williams, were taken into custody Friday after leaving Harris's home in the 2900 block of Monnier Street in Portage.

Police said Williams was seen in surveillance footage at the gas station before the robbery.

Both women initially told police they dropped Evans off at work in Gary and then ran into a friend of Harris's, who asked for a ride to Portage. They stopped at Rich's gas station so Williams could purchase cigarettes, at which point the friend changed his mind and decided to stay at the gas station, the women said.

Williams changed her story after she was shown the surveillance footage, records state. She admitted Evans robbed the gas station, which Harris confirmed after she was told her mother already implicated Evans.

Evans was taken into custody and denied involvement in the robbery.

Evans was accused in March 2013 of committing three robberies at three separate businesses in Portage, allegedly threatening store clerks with a black BB gun. He pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery the following year and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with five years suspended for probation.

He was released from prison in June 2017, records state.

Evans is jailed without bond. The women were given $5,000 bonds.


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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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