TOMS RIVER - Ocean County prosecutors plan to seek an extended sentence for the defendant found guilty Wednesday of a Toms River armed robbery, based on more than 30 prior convictions.

Michael Allan Guerino (Ocean Co. Dept. of Corrections)
Michael Allan Guerino (Ocean Co. Dept. of Corrections)

After three hours of deliberation, a jury in Toms River returned guilty verdicts on five charges for Michael Allan Guerino, 53, of Toms River, related to the January 2016 knifepoint holdup of a Dollar Tree in the township, according to the office of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato.

Guerino was convicted of first-degree armed robbery; third-degree charges of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; and fourth-degree theft and unlawful possession of a weapon

Sentencing is scheduled for December 15. Authorities said that the number of priors opens eligibility for a life sentence. They did not specify the length of term they'll ask.

According to information given during the trial, Guerino, clad in a hooded sweatshirt and gloves, entered the store at about 9:40 PM on January 29, 2016, and tossed a candy bar on the counter alongside the cash register as if to buy it.

As the 24-year-old cashier rang up the sale, Guerino stepped behind the counter, pressed the knife into her back, demanded that she open the till, and threatened to "stick" her if she tried to call for help, authorities said.

When the cashier was unable to open the machine, Guerino ripped out the cash drawer and took off with it, along with the $234.96 it contained, investigators said.

Toms River police soon developed information pointing to Guerino, searched his Gower Court dwelling, and found evidence of the clothes he was said to have worn during the robbery. In addition to the narrative given jurors, the cashier identified Guerino.

Toms River PD detectives Steven Bucci, Patrick Jacques and Louis Santora, Oficers Matthew Broderick and Anthony Claps, and Ocean County Sheriff's Officer Ralph Laudicina testified at the trial conducted by County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Michael Abatemarco.

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