A Red Bank man has been convicted of robbing one person at gunpoint, threatening a second and firing the weapon into the air nearly three years ago, the Monmouth County Prosecutor‘s office announced Monday.

Call in the authorities

After a two-week trial in Freehold, a state Superior Court jury found 31-year-old Eric Rock guilty last Thursday of two counts of first-degree armed robbery and related weapons charges. He faces terms of up to 20 years on each count at sentencing.

According to a press release issued by the office of Prosecutor Luis Valentin, Rock, wearing a black mask and carrying a loaded gun, rode up on a bicycle to a car parked on Bridge Avenue at about 4:30a on the morning of July 4, 2006.

A party was underway at a nearby house following the borough’s annual KaBoom Fireworks show.

Rock produced a pistol, demanded money from a man seated in the car and fired the gun into the air before taking $800 from the victim, according to the prosecutor’s account.

Rock then pointed the gun at a second person who had approached the area. That person had no money.

The crimes were witnessed by two observers, including a Middletown Auxiliary Police officer, who alerted Red Bank police.

The perpetrator fled the scene by bicycle an escaped, but not before Red Bank Sgt. Errico Vescio saw him removing his mask.

Rock was captured by federal marshals almost four months later in Concord, N.C.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced on May 29 by Superior Court Judge Edward M. Neafsey. Rock would be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence on the armed robbery counts. He faces an additional ten years on the gun possession charge.

“Rock committed a violent and brazen act by approaching local citizens with felonious intent on a public street while armed with a firearm,” Valentin said in the release. “Due to the immediate response to the scene by the Red Bank Police Department, Rock’s identity was immediately established, and Rock is now being held responsible for his actions.”

Here’s the press release: Download 040609d

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