Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced that a Perth Amboy man was convicted yesterday of multiple convenience store robberies in the city.
Officials said Raul Zarco, 41, of Perth Amboy, was found guilty by a jury on March 22, 2018 of three counts of armed robbery in the first degree, one count of attempted armed robbery in the second degree, one count of possession of an imitation firearm in the fourth degree, three counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery in the second degree, two counts of theft by unlawful taking in the third degree, and two count of making terroristic threats in the third degree.
According to authorities, Zarco faces a prison term of 35 years to life, when he is sentenced in New Brunswick on May 29, 2018, by Superior Court Judge Lorraine Pullen. The defendant faces this extended term due to his prior convictions. This prison term is also subject to the No Early Release Act. As such, the defendant will have to serve 85 percent of his prison term before becoming eligible for parole.
During a five week trial that began on February 13, 2018, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Kristen Pridgen presented testimony and evidence showing that Zarco robbed two convenience stores and attempted to rob a third store between January 31, 2015, and March 13, 2015.
On January 31, 2015, Zarco, and co-defendant Pedro Ortiz, entered a mini market on Catalpa Street in Perth Amboy at closing time, ordered the owner to his knees while brandishing a gun and robbed him of approximately $3,500.
Then on February 9, 2015, Zarco and Ortiz robbed a mini market on Cortlandt Street in the same fashion and stole approximately $4,000.
On March 13, 2015 police were dispatched to a convenience store on Smith Street in Perth Amboy when the two were seen casing the location. Zarco and Ortiz were apprehended before they attempted to rob the store, while in possession of a gun.
Authorities said Pedro Ortiz previously pleaded guilty to multiple counts of armed robbery and is facing a prison term of up to 10 years, subject to the No Early Release Act, when he is sentenced in June before Judge Joseph Rea.