Former Steamboat market and cafe owner pleads no contest to attempted theft

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Jonathon Hieb

Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original published version.

Jonathon Hieb, the Steamboat Springs man accused of stealing from his employer, Bella’s Wine Bar, pleaded no contest to attempted theft, a Class 5 felony, Monday morning in Routt County District Court.

Fourteenth Judicial District Court Chief Judge Michael O’Hara “conditionally accepted” the agreement with the Routt County District Attorney’s Office that includes a 30-month deferred sentence.

“The good news is, for you, that it’s pursuant to an agreement for a deferred judgement in sentence,” O’Hara told Hieb on Monday. “So in essence, the court is going to sort of put the case on a shelf for 30 months. If you do everything you’re supposed to do after the 30-month period, which is 2 1/2 years, the case will be dismissed.”

According to the agreement, Hieb would be on supervised probation during that 30-month period, may have to pay restitution (if the district attorney requests it) and could receive as many as 90 days in jail. If Hieb completes his probation successfully, O’Hara said he would be eligible to request that the case be sealed.

O’Hara said if Hieb violated the terms of his probation, it would result in an immediate conviction with a prison sentence of one to three years. O’Hara said “exceptional circumstances” could reduce a prison sentence to six months or extend it to six years. He said a prison sentence would be followed by one year of mandatory parole, a violation of which could result in one more year of prison or a fine of as much as $100,000.

Hieb declined to comment after the hearing.

Hieb, 45, was arrested May 19 on suspicion of stealing $2,631 in cash and product from Bella’s, where he had worked during winter months as a server and bartender since October 2010. Hieb used to co-own Sweet Pea Market and Cafe.

“He has not been involved with Sweet Pea in any way since he was arrested in May,” Sweet Pea owner Katherine Zambrana said Monday. “He is no longer an owner of Sweet Pea. He was forced to resign.”

O’Hara set Hieb’s sentencing for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 9. At that time, he will review a pre-sentence investigation conducted by the 14th Judicial District Probation Department to determine whether to accept the agreement and decide whether to give Hieb any jail time.

After the hearing, Hieb’s attorney, Tim Oliphant, said he thought the plea agreement was fair but that he didn’t think the District Attorney’s Office could have convicted his client.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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