GUILTY VERDICT IN BRICK ARMED BANK ROBBERY
On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, an Ocean County Jury seated before the Honorable James M. Blaney, J.S.C., in Toms River, found defendant Michael D. Gibson guilty of first degree robbery and third degree possession of an imitation firearm. First degree robbery is punishable by up to 20 years in New Jersey state prison and carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of 85% of the sentence imposed. Third degree possession of an imitation firearm is punishable by up to 5 years incarceration.
The charges stem from October 6, 2015, when the defendant entered the TD Bank vestibule, at 2292 Hooper Avenue in Brick at 5:12 p.m., while displaying a firearm. The inner doors to the bank were locked. Gibson brandished the firearm and banged on the glass door with the gun, but he was unable make entry into the bank. Bank employees and customers were still inside the bank at the time of the robbery. They hid behind the teller desk until defendant left and then contacted police.
Gibson then fled on foot and was observed leaving the scene in a blue Toyota. A concerned citizen observed Gibson inside the vestibule and followed the defendant as he fled the parking lot and ultimately followed him in the vehicle to Beaverson Blvd. Brick Township Police Officers John Ziobro, Brian Farnkopf and Brick Detective Waleski conducted a motor vehicle stop at which time the defendant was arrested and a black air soft handgun was recovered from inside his vehicle.
Detective Thomas Cooney then conducted an interview during which the defendant admitted to brandishing the handgun in the vestibule.
At trial, two TD Bank employees, a concerned citizen, Patrolman Ziobro, Patrolman Farnkopf, Detective Waleski and Detective Cooney testified. Defendant claimed renunciation, claiming that he had abandoned his purpose to rob the bank. His defense was rejected by the jury when it returned verdicts of guilty of armed robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.
The defendant, who was incarcerated pending trial, is being held in the Ocean County Jail without bail pending sentencing. He is scheduled to be sentenced in November.
The State’s case was presented by Assistant Prosecutor Ashley Tito, who was assisted by Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Sheehan.
Detective Michael Lepore from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office assisted in the investigation and preparation of the case for trial.
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