Aspen restaurant burglar, prosecutors come to plea agreement |

Aspen restaurant burglar, prosecutors come to plea agreement

ASPEN – A former restaurant employee pleaded guilty to stealing from his employers as part of a plea deal with prosecutors Monday.

Joseph Kern, 36, said he felt “pretty awful” for taking $2,100 from the CP Burger safe on Oct. 3. He pleaded guilty to felony theft and obstructing a peace officer, a misdemeanor.

Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols suspended the theft conviction for two years, giving Kern a chance to wipe the incident off his record if he stays out of trouble during that duration. Kern will be on supervised probation for the next two years, as well.

A hospitality worker by trade, Kern said the incident has sullied his reputation to the point where he can’t get a job in Aspen, but he has lined up work in Washington state.

Police arrested Kern at the Rubey Park Transit Center, less than a block away from CP Burger across Durant Avenue, the day he went to the eatery, opened a safe and took the cash.

Public defender Lauren Koenig said that at the time of the incident, Kern was on prescription medications and drinking alcohol. The “disastrous combination” resulted in Kern “not functioning in the right mind,” Koenig said.

“He was not able to think clearly or make decisions,” she said.

While the criminal case has been resolved and CP Burger has been reimbursed, a civil case is pending in Pitkin County small-claims court. There, Kern is suing Craig and Samantha Cordts-Pearce for $5,230 in back pay. Kern claims he was owed the money for the two pay periods before he was terminated as the operations manager for the Cordts-Pearces’ restaurants.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User