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A man who said he allegedly participated in an armed robbery – using a lighter – of patrons at Maxine’s bar because of peer pressure is facing decades in prison.

Jermarel Cobb was charged Wednesday in Racine County Circuit Court with five felony counts of robbery with the threat of force as a party to a crime. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 75 years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines. Because Cobb has prior convictions on his record within the last five years, he could face having time added to any sentence he serves.

Criminal complaint

According to the criminal complaint, another man planned to rob customers at Maxine’s, 835 Washington Ave., but he wasn’t convinced he could pull it off because he’d been drinking. He asked Cobb to help him, and when Cobb hesitated, the man called Cobb a “b*tch” and a “p*ssy”. The men agreed to communicate via text, using “1” as affirmation the robbery was a go and “2” to abandon the plan. Shortly before the commencement of the robbery, Cobb’s phone has a text with “1” and “Now” on the display.

Police say both men entered the bar, but Cobb is the only one who displayed a weapon and robbed cash and valuables from patrons in the bar. Witnesses said he waved what appeared to be a handgun and demanded cash from the register saying, “Don’t make this a homicide.” The other man first visited the bar earlier that day to make a reservation and returned just before the robbery to distract bar personnel.

“Weapon” discovered to be lighter

Officers were traveling east on Washington Avenue when they were flagged down by a man who told them Maxine’s was just robbed, and another witness was chasing the perpetrator, the complaint continues. When police caught Cobb, he was carrying several cell phones, almost $400 in cash, and a silver lighter that resembled a small handgun.

Cobb was assigned a $5,000 cash bond and ordered not to have contact with his co-defendant who is not yet in custody but does have a $25,000 warrant for his arrest. Cobb will next be in court on May 26 for his preliminary hearing.

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