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Man sentenced to 50 years in state prison for conspiracy, robbery, theft and witness tampering in Morris County

MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – A Somerset County man has been sentenced in connection with the armed robbery of a high-end luxury car rental business on Dec. 4, 2021 and subsequent tampering with a witness, according to Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll.

Melvin Banks, 37, of Somerset was sentenced on April 12 and the Honorable Claudia Jones, JSC imposed an aggregate sentence of 50 years in New Jersey State Prison, with 25.5 years of parole ineligibility, Carroll said.

Banks received 30 years for the second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery and first-degree robbery counts, consecutive to 20 years on the first-degree witness tampering. He was also sentenced to a concurrent 5 year term for third-degree theft of a motor vehicle, Carroll said.

Banks had been found guilty by a jury on Feb. 9 of first-degree armed robbery, second-degree conspiracy, third-degree theft of a motor vehicle and first-degree witness tampering. He was held at the Morris County Correctional Facility pending sentencing, Carroll said.

The State presented evidence that Banks targeted the owner of a high-end luxury car rental business in a conspiracy to rob the individual of jewelry and other items, Carroll said.

On Dec. 4, 2021, Banks was scheduled to return a rented Mercedes S580 to the victim and coordinated its return for 9:00 p.m. that same evening. Then at 9:31 p.m., the victim was instead robbed at gunpoint by co-defendant Daniel Lind, Carroll said.

Lind fired a handgun, mere feet from where the victim sat, and took approximately $100,000 in jewelry and cell phones. Lind then fled the business and entered the waiting rental vehicle, driven by Banks, Carroll said.

In the hours leading up to the robbery, Banks and Lind were captured on surveillance purchasing black gloves and cable ties at a local Home Depot and returning to the scene of the robbery to await the victim’s arrival, Carroll said.

In the months after the robbery, during the subsequent investigation of the crime by Riverdale Police Department, Banks sent messages threatening harm to the victim and the victim’s family if the victim did not drop the charges, Carroll said.

Prior to trial, Lind pled guilty to first-degree robbery and second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and was sentenced to 8 years in New Jersey State Prison, Carroll said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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