GANT: Pennington Pleads Guilty in Robbery Scheme

CLEARFIELD, Pa. (GANT) – A Madera man pleaded guilty to his part in a robbery scheme that targeted a Walmart employee and was foiled by his co-workers.

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Jonathan P. Pennington, 20, was one of three men charged in the incident that occurred in October in Clearfield when the trio allegedly abducted a man and took him first to a bank and then to Walmart in an effort to get money they claimed he owed them.

Along the way they hit him, put a rope around his neck and threatened to cut him up and dump his body in the river, according to the complaint.

Pennington pleaded guilty Tuesday before Judge Paul Cherry to robbery and conspiracy, both felonies, along with misdemeanor terroristic threats and simple assault.

He was sentenced to 12 months to 36 months in state prison. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $529.33 to the victim.

In an unrelated case, Pennington pleaded guilty to driving under the influence for which he received a consecutive sentence of three days to six months in jail.

Earlier this month, his co-defendant, Michael Joseph Young, 19, pleaded guilty to robbery, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint, simple assault and harassment before President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman. Young was sentenced to 24 months to four years in state prison, according to a previous article.

The third man, Ronald Charles Pinto, 18, of Wallaceton has also signed a plea agreement and is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

According to the affidavit, Pinto first met the victim at a parking lot in Curwensville. The two then traveled in a truck to Irwin Park where Young and Pennington entered the vehicle and prevented the victim from escaping.

Pinto was allegedly the driver while Pennington was in the front seat, keeping the victim in the middle of the front seat. With Young in the back seat, they traveled to a bank in Clearfield.

On the way, Young placed a rope around the victim’s neck, making it hard for him to breathe. Struggling with the rope, the victim placed his feet on the dash of the truck in an attempt to escape, the victim told police. Eventually Young let go of the rope.

Pennington punched the victim in the face before they made it to the bank.

When they arrived, they took the victim’s wallet and tried to use his bank card to get money but there were no funds available because the victim, a Walmart employee, had not yet been paid.

Reportedly, Pennington said he would be hanging onto his wallet until the victim was paid and Pinto took his phone, changing the password so he could not access it.

Pennington hit the victim in the leg with the rope and a hatchet. Pinto reportedly burned him with a cigarette as they drove on to Walmart in Clearfield.

Pinto had downloaded an app on the victim’s phone which would allow him to get money from his paycheck early, the victim explained.

While at Walmart they threatened to chop him up and put his body parts on his parents’ porch or into the river, police said.

Pennington and Pinto used his card to purchase $120 worth of merchandise at Walmart while Young accompanied him to the service desk to get funds from his paycheck, according to the complaint.

Staff at Walmart realized there was a problem, pulled the victim aside and called police.

After this, the trio exited the store and left the parking lot prior to police arrival.

The victim reported that they had taken approximately $1,200 from him but Pinto claimed he still owed another $1,800.

After the incident, Pinto allegedly continued to threaten the victim on social media.

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