Elizabeth man sentenced to 40 years for robbery

An Elizabeth man has been sentenced to 40 years in state prison for the armed robbery of a woman at a city ATM a little more than four years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.

Ricky Hawkins, 46, was sentenced by state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield to an extended term based on his prior convictions, having been found guilty of first-degree robbery and four related weapons offenses following an October 2015 trial.

It was approximately 8 p.m. on January 4, 2012 when the victim in the case was completing her required driving instruction hours to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Peter Benza and Christopher DeSimone, who prosecuted the case. At the completion of her lesson, the victim was dropped off at the Bank of America ATM on Newark Avenue in Elizabeth in order to obtain cash to pay her driver’s instructor, Benza said.

As she made a withdrawal of $100, Hawkins approached her from behind, brandished a handgun, and demanded that sum plus an additional $200 he made her withdrawal as well. He then left the scene.

An Elizabeth Police Department investigation resulted in Hawkins being developed as a suspect in the case, and he was arrested shortly thereafter.

Caulfield sentenced Hawkins to 30 years in state prison on the robbery convictions and 10 years on the weapons convictions, with those two terms to be served consecutively. He must serve at least 85 percent of the 30-year term under the provisions of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, plus a minimum of five years on the 10-year term.