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Camping Couple Robbed At Gunpoint In Tuolumne County

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Columbia, CA – It was a scary situation for a couple camping in the Columbia area as they were robbed at gunpoint, and the suspect allegedly committed other crimes three days before and is being held on $200,000 bail.

It was around 2:30 a.m. when Tuolumne County Sheriff’s dispatch was recently alerted to the incident in the area of Camp Nine Road near Parrots Ferry Road after getting a call from the woman and her boyfriend. They reported that the man had also threatened to shoot them. The victims told deputies upon their arrival that their car alarm woke them. Then they saw a man, later identified as 56-year-old Claudio Puccio, whose last address was in Virginia, screaming at them to leave their tent and walk to him. The victims also stated that, while pointing the handgun at them, he threatened to “blow their heads off.” Puccio then demanded one of the victims give him money and told them they needed to leave. Several hours later, he was found sitting nearby in his car, and deputies retrieved a handgun near the passenger side of the vehicle. Puccio faces charges of felony robbery, assault with a firearm and criminal threats.

Sheriff’s officials also disclosed that three days earlier, in the same area, Puccio was arrested for burglary and vandalism, stemming from an alleged night break-in at a cabin where he cut a lock. The neighbor also reported prior incidents of trespassing by him. Also, an outside security camera caught Puccio on the property with a blanket from inside the cabin. They added that Puccio had called 9-1-1 that night to report an issue with a neighbor regarding a gold claim and had admitted to cutting the lock, entering the cabin, and taking the blanket. “Puccio told the deputy he believed he had a right to the property because he believed it was public land,” relayed sheriff’s officials.