A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts against an Essex County man who robbed a woman at gunpoint in Elizabeth last year, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.
Diken Michelle, 30, of East Orange, was convicted on charges including first-degree robbery, two second-degree gun offenses, third-degree theft, and fourth-degree possession of a large-capacity magazine following a two-week trial before state Superior Judge Scott J. Moynihan and several hours of jury deliberation spread out over two days.
The date was January 26, 2014 when the victim parked her car on the 100 block of Bayway Avenue in Elizabeth, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Armando Suarez and Michael D’Agostino, who prosecuted the case. While gathering her belongings in her vehicle, a man later identified as Michelle approached the vehicle, brandished a handgun, and demanded her personal effects, Suarez and D’Agostino said.
The woman handed over items including her purse, cell phone, makeup case, a duffel bag, and her car keys, after which Michelle fled the scene. A bystander who witnessed the crime then approached the victim and immediately called 911.
Responding Elizabeth Police Department patrol units used the “Find my iPhone” app to trace the victim’s cell phone to a location on the 300 block of South Front Street in Elizabeth, where they found Michelle and arrested him shortly thereafter. The victim subsequently identified Michelle as the person responsible for the robbery, and her personal belongings were recovered from the defendant’s nearby parked vehicle.
The next day, a handgun matching the description of that used in the robbery was recovered in a snowbank not far from where Michelle and his vehicle were found.
Sentencing in the case is scheduled for December 4, 2015, at which time Michelle will be facing an extended term of imprisonment due to prior convictions on unrelated indictable offenses.