COLUMBIA — After being attacked and robbed Wednesday night near the Vanderveen Crossing subdivision, a Columbia man managed to record the license plate number of the vehicle the perpetrators were driving. His actions helped police make three arrests in connection with the crime.
“He definitely pointed the investigators in the right direction,” Sgt. Ken Hammond of the Columbia Police Department said. Police are investigating whether there is a connection between the incident and several recent robberies in East Campus, Hammond said.
Adrian L. Rhoden and Lamar L. Taylor, both 19, were arrested and charged Thursday with second-degree robbery, according to probable cause statements filed in the 13th Circuit Court. A 14-year-old boy also was arrested, Hammond said.
According to a statement, the victim was walking and talking on his cell phone shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday on Blue Ridge Road near Piranha Court when he noticed a small white car pass him and turn around. Two men approached him and asked for a cigarette. He told them he didn’t smoke and continued walking.
The victim said he was then hit in the back of the head and tackled to the ground. The two men continued to punch and kick him when he was on the ground. A police officer who responded to the scene said the victim’s face was swollen and cut. Hammond said the perpetrators approached the victim with the intent of robbing him.
The group took the victim’s cell phone and then fled in the white car, which was driven by Rhoden’s sister, according to a probable cause statement. It was at that point that the victim was able to record the license plate number.
The vehicle the victim identified was registered to Rhoden. The victim was later able to identify Rhoden with 90 percent certainty in a photo lineup, according to the statement.
In an interview with police, Rhoden identified the two other teens involved in the crime, according to a statement. Taylor later said he picked the phone up from the ground after the attack but threw it out the car’s window when he realized it had been broken.
Taylor was being held at the Boone County Jail on $25,000 bond Friday afternoon. Rhoden was released Thursday on $25,000 bond.