After being convicted of a 2017 liquor store robbery, a Long Branch man now faces an extended prison term due to his prior convictions, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said.
John Vernicek, 38, of Long Branch,was convicted Thursday of one count each of second-degree robbery and third-degree theft following a two-week trial before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Oxley.
As a result of his prior record, which includes approximately 10 prior indictable convictions and multiple violent crimes, Vernicek qualifies for a mandatory extended-term sentence. He faces 10-20 years in prison subject to the No Early Release Act when he returns for sentencing on Feb. 8, 2019.
During the course of the trial, jurors learned Vernicek entered Falvo’s Liquors in Long Branch on July 9, 2017, where he attacked a store employee and stole money from the register.
The victim did not know Vernicek and the crime happened so quickly, she was unable to provide a detailed description of her attacker. During the investigation by detectives from the Ocean Township Police Department surveillance video was obtained from Falvo’s and surrounding businesses did provide evidence of a distinctive white van that brought Vernicek to the robbery.
Police eventually located the van and its owner, who happened to be a registered sex offender and former drug addict. The man provided detectives with a pair of gloves Vernicek wore during the robbery.The gloves were sent to the New Jersey State Police Forensics Laboratory where forensic scientists found Vernicek’s DNA inside the gloves.
Prior to this most recent conviction, Vernicek had been convicted on charges that included burglary, theft,aggravated assault, drug possession, resisting arrest and other indictable charges.
— Press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office