A Virginia man was convicted of robbery before a grand jury Thursday, according to a release from the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.
George Bryan, 46, was convicted of second degree robbery in conjunction with a June incident at the Somerset Shopping Center at the Somerville Circle in Bridgewater.
According to Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano, Bryan robbed a victim in the parking lot of the center around 12:30 p.m. June 17, 2011.
Soriano said the victim had just used an ATM at a bank branch in the shopping center. The defendant, he said, was lingering outside of the bank and watched the victim withdraw money before following her to her car.
As the woman stood near her car, Soriano said, Bryan ran at her, and, after a short struggle, he forcibly ripped her purse off her arm before sprinting through the parking lot with it. Soriano said Bryan was chased through the parking lot by the victim and a good Samaritan.
When Bryan fled the scene in a Jeep Cherokee, Soriano said, the victim and others took note of the license plate. Bryan was stopped shortly thereafter by Hillsborough Township Police, and the investigation was conducted by the Bridgewater Township Police, with assistance from the Hillsborough department.
Bryan faces up to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison, with 85 percent to be served without parole, Soriano said.
The trial lasted four days, having begun May 7, and the Honorable Julie Marino presided, with the state being represented by Assistant Prosecutor Merrill Mezzacappa.