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Somerset Man Found Guilty of Conspiracy, Robbery, and Tampering

Morris County

By: Najla Alexander 

Authorities in Morris County announced that a jury has found Melvin Banks, 37, of Somerset, guilty of one count of second-degree Conspiracy, first-degree Armed Robbery, third-degree Theft of a Motor Vehicle, and first-degree Witness Tampering.Ad Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll said the State presented evidence that Melvin Banks targeted the owner of a high-end luxury car rental business in a conspiracy to rob the individual of jewelry and other items.

Officials said on December 4, 2021, Banks was scheduled to return a rented Mercedes S580 to the victim and coordinated its return for 9 p.m. that same evening.

At 9:31 p.m., officials say, the victim was instead robbed at gunpoint by co-defendant Daniel Lind. Lind fired a handgun, mere feet from where the victim sat, and took approximately $100,000 in jewelry and cell phones.

Authorities say then fled the business and entered the waiting rental vehicle driven by Melvin Banks.

In the hours leading up to the robbery, Banks and Lind were captured on surveillance purchasing black gloves and cable ties at a local Home Depot and returning to the scene of the robbery to await the victim’s arrival. In the months after the robbery, during the subsequent investigation of the crime by Riverdale Police, Banks sent messages threatening harm to the victim and the victim’s family if the victim did not drop the charges, officials said.AdAccording to officials, prior to trial, Daniel Lind pled guilty to first-degree Robbery and second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and was sentenced to 8 years in New Jersey State Prison.

Officials say the charges against Melvin Banks were tried before a jury between January 30, 2024, and February 8, 2024.

The jury returned its verdict on February 9, 2024.

Melvin Banks is scheduled to be sentenced on March 22, 2024, and is being held at the Morris County Correctional Facility pending sentencing, officials stated.