A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts against three Middlesex County residents for their roles in the knifepoint robbery of a Rahway gas station attendant approximately two and a half years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Tuesday.
Jose Mena, 21, Angel Nunez-Hernandez, 22, and Mario Cabrera-Peña, 26, all of Perth Amboy, were convicted late Friday following a four-week trial before state Superior Court Judge Daniel R. Lindemann, including two days of jury deliberations.
At approximately 1 a.m. on Sunday, April 10, 2016, Mena approached the Lukoil gas station on Route 27 near West Inman Avenue in Rahway and asked the lone attendant, who was behind a locked door, if he could purchase a cigar, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Alaina Caliendo and Bryan Tiscia, who prosecuted the case.
When the attendant unlocked the door, Mena followed him behind the counter of the gas station’s convenience store and brandished a long kitchen knife, pointing it at his chest and demanding money while Cabrera-Peña stood outside acting as a lookout, Caliendo and Tiscia said. The two defendants made off with approximately $400 in cash and ran a short distance onto West Inman Avenue, where Nunez-Hernandez waited in the driver’s seat of the getaway vehicle.
The attendant had managed to press an alarm button without the defendants realizing, and responding Rahway Police Department patrol units quickly located the three and arrested them, recovering the knife used in the robbery and the stolen cash.
The trial jury convicted Mena of first-degree robbery, second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, and two related weapons offenses. Nunez-Hernandez was convicted of second-degree conspiracy, third-degree theft, and the same two weapons offenses, while Cabrera-Peña was convicted of third-degree theft.
Following the convictions, all three defendants had their bail revoked and were remanded to Union County Jail pending sentencing, which has been scheduled for Friday, November 9, 2018 before Judge Lindemann.