Belleville man sentenced to seven years for robbery

NEWARK, NJ — Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II announced Sept. 21 that Judge Patrick J. Arre sentenced Jose Rivera, 58, of Belleville, to seven years in New Jersey State Prison for second-degree robbery. On July 8, 2022, Rivera was convicted by an Essex County jury of second-degree robbery of a gas station in Newark.

On Sept. 18, 2021, Rivera entered the gas station on Pennsylvania Avenue in Newark with another person. Rivera used force to demand the gas station attendant hand over all the money he had on him. The attendant gave Rivera $850 in cash. He took the money and fled the scene, and the second suspect was never identified.

In this case, because of the defendant’s 17 prior convictions, the state sought an extended-term sentence. The court denied the state’s motion and sentenced the defendant to seven years in New Jersey State Prison. As robbery is a No Early Release Act offense, Rivera must serve 85 percent of his seven-year sentence before being eligible for parole. Moreover, pursuant to the No Early Release Act, he will be on parole supervision for three years after his release from custody.

“Justice has been served in this case,” said Assistant Prosecutor Brianne Cunningham, who tried the case. “Hopefully, this sentence will deter this defendant and others from wreaking havoc on local business owners in Newark and their employees.”

Stephens said that while his office is “always pleased when a jury finds we have proven our case, we had hoped that the defendant would have received an extended-term sentence based on his extensive criminal history. Nonetheless, we respect the court’s decision.”