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CROWN POINT — Police saw $1, $20 and $100 bills falling from a man's pants and found more cash stuffed in his pants Tuesday as they investigated a Lowell home invasion, Lake Criminal Court records say.

Brandon E. Castaneda, 21, of Gary; Jamal E. Parks, 20, of Steger; and Robert E. Costello, 19, of Steger, are accused of entering a man's home without permission, punching him and fleeing with his cellphone and wallet, which contained about $1,500.

Lowell police spotted them driving a maroon 2000 Ford Explorer in the 16900 block of Wicker Avenue, stopped them and noticed the stolen wallet in plain view inside the car, according to court records.

The men were each charged Tuesday with felony counts of burglary, robbery, residential entry and theft.

Lowell police responded about 1:45 a.m. to the 100 block of Elm Street for a report of a fight.

A man who lives at the home told officers Castaneda pushed his way into the home and punched the man multiple times in the face, head and chest.

The man said Castaneda said, "You claim count, this is what you get," referring to the Latin Counts street gang, records say.

Parks is accused of also entering the home and attempting to take the man's TV and video game system. The man told police he yelled at Parks, at which point Castaneda took his wallet and cellphone and left with Parks in a vehicle driven by a third person.

During the traffic stop, police identified the driver as Costello, records say.

As an officer patted down Castaneda, $84 in singles and twenty-dollar bills fell out of his right pants leg, records say. The victim's ID was found in a nearby grassy area, and his wallet was located about 20 feet from the car.

While being taken to the Lowell Police Department, Castaneda allegedly said, "I will tell you everything, but that dude owed me money and I got mad and hit him."

At the department, the officer saw two $100 bills fall from Castaneda's right pants leg as when he sat down, records say.

More money fell out of his pants during a second pat-down, and the officer lifted Castaneda's shirt and saw "money protruding from his butt crack," according to a probable cause affidavit.

 

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Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.