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Man Who Robbed Columbia Camp Site Sentenced

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Columbia, CA – A Virginia man will serve nine years in prison for the armed robbery of two campers in the Columbia area in March.

On Monday (5/20), 56-year-old Claudio Puccio, who was staying in the Columbia area, was sentenced to 9 years in state prison to be served at 85%, according to Tuolumne County District Attorney Cassandra Jenecke. Puccio pleaded guilty to the March 17th robbery with a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon. Jenecke added that in court, the female victim gave a Victims’ Impact Statement about how significantly this event has affected her life. She also noted that both charges qualify as strike offenses under California’s Three Strikes Sentencing scheme.

As earlier reported here, a couple camping near Camp 9 Road in the Columbia area of Tuolumne County awoke to Puccio inside their tent, pointing a gun at them and demanding money, which they gave him. They testified that he ordered them out of the tent while threatening to “blow their heads off.” Puccio then forced them into their vehicle and ordered them to leave the area.

Once the couple got to Parrotts Ferry Road, they called 9-1-1 to report what happened. Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies accompanied the male victim to the campsite to collect their belongings. During that time, they found Puccio sitting nearby in his car with a handgun on the passenger seat.