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CROWN POINT — A man fired from a grocery store in Merrillville for trying to sell marijuana to customers allegedly returned this week to pistol whip a store employee and steal his vehicle, court records state.

Bryan J. Parks, 22, of Chicago, was charged Friday in Lake Criminal Court with three counts of robbery, two counts of battery, possession of an altered handgun and automobile theft.

Merrillville police were dispatched 9:21 p.m. Wednesday to Ruler Foods, 6110 Broadway Ave., in Merrillville, after receiving reports of an automobile theft, according to court records.

An employee told police he was on a smoke break when he was approached by Parks, a former co-worker, who beat him over the head with a handgun and demanded the keys to his vehicle, records state.

The man handed over the keys, and Parks fled in his 2004 Buick LeSabre, records state.

A store manager told police she witnessed the attack. She said Parks was fired from the store Tuesday for trying to sell marijuana to customers during his shift, according to records.

The Buick LeSabre was found parked outside the apartment of Park's mother in the 58000 block of Pennsylvania Street, records state.

The mother allegedly said, “Oh lord, what did he do now?” when officers told her they were looking for Parks, according to records.

Parks was taken into custody at the apartment, records state. A loaded 9 mm pistol with an obliterated serial number was found in a bag belonging to Parks.

The battered employee received four staples to treat a laceration to his head, records state.

Parks is not afforded bond on the charges, records state.


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.