Hazlet man arrested in bank robbery


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HAZLET — A 25-year-old Hazlet man was arrested and charged with robbing the TD Bank branch located on Harmony Road in Middletown Saturday, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Justin Rafalko, of Sycamore Drive in Hazlet, faces one count of first degree robbery after he entered the bank around 3 p.m. on Saturday approached a teller with a note indicating he was armed with a weapon and demanding money. Rafalko fled the scene with proceeds from the robbery on a bicycle.

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A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Middletown Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Craig Weber, identified Rafalko was the suspect via video surveillance and due to his entering the bank without a disguise. Rafalko was apprehended by Keansburg police later in the day  along a section of the Henry Hudson Trail that runs through the borough.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Red Bank Field Office, and the Hazlet Police Department also assisted in the investigation. He was arrested on Aug. 22.

“This was a great team effort by all the law enforcement agencies involved to bring this case to a swift conclusion,” said Gramiccioni.

“In addition to the outstanding work by all of the agencies involved in the investigation of this case, we would also like to thank the general public which provided numerous tips in the aftermath of this crime,” said Weber.

Rafalko is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold Township, on $200,000 bail with no option to post ten percent, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Leslie Ann Justus.

The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Decker.

If convicted of robbery, Rafalko faces a sentence of up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and state law.

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