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CROWN POINT — A 26-year-old man is charged in an armed robbery last month outside a Hammond gas station.

Justin A. Harris was charged Monday in Lake Criminal Court with armed robbery, battery by means of a deadly weapon, intimidation and interference with the reporting of a crime.

Hammond police were dispatched in the early morning hours July 14 to Nice & Easy, 4508 Calumet Ave.

A man said he and his girlfriend stopped at the gas station so he could use the bathroom, records state. He said while outside the building, a man put a gun to his head and said, “Give me your chain, mother (expletive), or I'll blast you,” records state.

He said the robber took his gold chain and Armani Exchange watch. He also smashed his phone, records state.

Police were able to identify the suspect in surveillance footage as Harris. The man and his girlfriend both identified Harris as the robber from a photograph, records state.

Harris was previously charged in January 2011 with raping a woman during a party in Hammond. Harris pleaded guilty to criminal confinement and theft, and he was sentenced to four years in prison, which was suspended for probation. He received an additional four years probation for carrying a handgun without a license in an unrelated case, records state.

A warrant was issued Monday for Harris' arrest. His surety bond is $75,000.

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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.