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Columbia man arrested after robbing, threatening victim

A Columbia man was arrested late Thursday morning after robbing and continually threatening a victim earlier this month.

31-year-old Maurice Penny is charged with 1st degree robbery and tampering with a victim after robbing the man on March 6 at a home on Rangeline St.

The victim told Columbia Police a group of people were at 1109 Rangeline playing cards and dice for money that night, and the victim showed up with $1,000.

The victim, known as R.J. in court documents, said he had about $2,700 by the end of the night.

Penny and two others left the home at around 11:15, and R.J. left about two minutes later.

When R.J. was walking out to his car, a person in a dark colored hooded sweatshirt pointed a gun at him and told him to empty his pockets.

The suspect took the money and got into a running car. A police officer noticed that car and saw two people standing nearby run when they saw his patrol car.

The officer traced the car to the fiance of Penny, who had just been released from prison.

It was determined Penny was one of the people who ran from the car when the officer saw the car leaving the home on Rangeline. Penny was not in the car when the officer pulled over the car at Amelia and Old 63.

R.J. told police Penny called him the next day and offered him $2,000 to clear his name with police. About two hours later, R.J. took a call from a man who said he would pay him $2,700 to call the police and tell them he had mistaken the suspects’ identities.

On March 15, R.J. was getting gas at the Petro Mart at 3850 Highway 763 when he was approached by Penny, told R.J. he was on parole and threatened that “bad things” would happen in Columbia if he was arrested. The exchange was captured on surveillance video at the gas station.

Penny was arrested Thursday in the 1500 block of Vandiver Drive. His bond was set at $200,000 cash only.

Penny has been paroled six times in the past.

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