Crime & Courts

After a crime spree in Richland County, he got caught almost 700 miles away, cops say

Armed robber on the run after stealing from 8 Richland County stores

Richland County Sheriff's Department said Howard Smalley robbed eight stores in the County then fled to New Jersey.
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Richland County Sheriff's Department said Howard Smalley robbed eight stores in the County then fled to New Jersey.

The man seems calm and practiced as he points a gun at a gas station clerk, directs her to open the register and grabs the money out with his own hands.

Richland County Sheriff’s Department says that man is Howard Smalley and that it wasn’t the only time he hit up a convenient store.

In January, Smalley went on a run of three robberies in Richland County, according to police. He also robbed five other stores in recent months, allegedly.

He stole money from four places on Two Notch Road, three on Rabon Road and one in Forest Acres, police say. Then he got on the road.

The U.S. Marshals found Smalley in New Jersey on Friday, Richland County said. He was arrested without incident and charged with eight counts of robbery.

Deputies said that Smalley had a criminal record from the mid to late 2000s that included arrests for marijuana and domestic violence.

Each robbery comes with a maximum penalty of 15 years. Armed robbery ups the prison time to a minimum of 10 years with the possibility of a 30 year sentence. The 57 year-old Smalley could face the rest of his life in prison.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.
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