Manchester Man Charged with Murdering Point Pleasant Victim
The trail of a suspect in the murder of a Point Pleasant man whose body was found in a Long Branch backyard leads investigators to Manchester.
Alan Bienkowski, 54, of Pinecrest Manor, is charged with first-degree felony murder and robbery in connection with the April 10 death of Michael Wells, 56.
He's being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold, where bail was set at $1,450,000, cash only, with no option for release on payment of 10 percent.
Bienkowski also faces second-degree counts of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Wells was reported missing about 5 AM on April 10 by a coworker at Dutch Prime Foods in Long Branch. The employee reported finding some of his belongings but no trace of Wells. Long Branch police found his body, with a gunshot wound, about three hours later behind a home on Cleveland Avenue.
Monmouth and Long Branch investigators believe that Bienkowski robbed Wells at gunpoint and shot him shortly after Wells arrived for work at about 4:30 AM.
A conviction on the murder count would place Bienkowski at risk for a prison term of at least 30 years to life, with a 30-year period of parole ineligibility.
The robbery charge carries a penalty of 10 to 20 years on conviciton, with a requirement to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence under terms of New Jersey's No Early Release Act.
The weapons charges carry minimum sentences of three to five years, with maximums of 10, if he's convicted of them at trial.
The investigation is still in progress. Authorities are asking anyone with knowledge of Bienkowski's whereabouts in the date and time frame of the homicide to contact Detective Kevin Condon at the office of acting Monmouth Prosecutor Chris Grammicioni, 1-800-533-7443; or Long Branch Police Detective Brendan Cahill 732-222-1000.