Man sentenced to 16 years for robbery

NEWARK, NJ — Brian Alston, 47, of Hillside, was sentenced to 16 years in New Jersey State Prison by Superior Court Judge Marysol Rosero, according to a Nov. 26 press release from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Damico, who tried the case, said Alston will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole because he has two prior felony convictions.

“This defendant continues to display a disregard for the law that warrants the extended prison term imposed in this case,” Damico said.

The crime occurred on Aug. 18, 2017. Alston entered a store located at 1036 Bergen St. in Newark and simply asked the store clerk for change. The store clerk recognized the defendant and gave him change.

On the same day, Alston came back in the afternoon, wearing the same clothing but with a mask and hoodie, and robbed the store with a fake handgun. He pulled the gun on the store clerk and demanded a metal box that held lottery proceeds.

The defendant was captured on video both times. Both times he was wearing a checkered shirt, backpack, blue jeans with distinctive rips and black sneakers with white streaks.

In June an Essex County jury found the defendant guilty on all counts — two counts of robbery, two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and one count of endangering the welfare of a child because one of the victims was a minor.