NEW BRUNSWICK,NJ - A Superior Court judge sentenced a man to 47 years in prison for a string armed robberies at convenience stores over a period of three months.
Judge Lorraine Pullen ordered Raul Zarco, 42, of Perth Amboy to serve a 40-year sentence for charges of armed robbery, and a seven-year sentence for a charge of attempted armed robbery, with the sentences to be served consecutively, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said in a statement.
Pullen ruled that because of Zarco's prior convictions, he is subject to the state "no early release act," which requires that he serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole, Carey said.
In March, a jury found Zarco guilty of three counts of first-degree armed robbery, and a single count of second-degree attempted armed robbery. The jury also convicted him of multiple counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, theft by unlawful taking, and making terrorists threats.
The jury reached the verdict after a trial that began in February.
Carey the conspiracy, theft and threats charged\s were merged together with the robbery charges for the sentencing.
During the trial, Assistant Prosecutor Kristen Pridgen presented evidence that Zarco and a co-defendant, Pedro Ortiz, robbed a mini market on Catalpa Street in Perth Amboy on Jan. 31, 2015, brandishing a gun and ordering the store owner to get on his knees before stealing approximately $3,500, Carey said.
Two weeks later, on Feb. 9, Zarco and Ortiz robbed a mini market on Cortlandt Street in the same manner, and stole approximately $4,000, authorities said.
They said that a month later, on March 13, the two men were arrested when police were dispatched to a convenience store on Smith Street in Perth Amboy and found them casing that location, and officers found a gun in their possession.
Ortiz previously pleaded guilty to multiple counts of armed robbery and is facing up to 10 years when he is sentenced July 30, Carey said. He said Ortiz will also be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole.