Basalt robber pleads guilty to two charges
BASALT – A Basalt man pleaded guilty last week to charges related to his armed robbery Jan. 24 of a grocery store where he once worked.
Jonas “Junior” Leon, 28, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree burglary and felony menacing at his arraignment, according to the Eagle County Court Clerk’s office. Charges of aggravated robbery and theft were dropped, according to a spokeswoman for the Eagle County District Attorney’s office.
Police said Leon entered Clark’s Market in Basalt at 8:44 on a Sunday evening wearing a beanie on his head and a yellow scarf over his face. He approached a cashier and demanded money. The employee told authorities she initially didn’t take him seriously because she recognized him as a former co-worker.
Leon came around the counter and pulled a .38-caliber handgun out of his pocket, forcing the cashier to collect and hand over the cash from the register.
There were three other employees in the store at the time. Two of them witnessed the robbery and also identified Leon, police said. The robber worked at the supermarket less than two years before the robbery, the investigation showed.
Leon fled through the market’s front door. The employees called police and provided them with Leon’s identity and his address on Homestead Drive, just a couple blocks uphill from Clark’s.
Leon was arrested within 16 minutes of the report, Basalt police said. Officers said they read Leon his rights, and he consented to a search. Police found a handgun matching the one described in the robbery along with $1,000 in a Clark’s grocery bag. He was taken into custody without incident.
The first-degree burglary charge was amended to second-degree burglary as part of the apparent plea deal.
Second-degree burglary is a class four felony, which has a possible prison sentence of one to three years, according to Colorado statutes. Felony menacing is a class five felony with a possible range of two to six years in prison. The felony menacing charge states the victim was “in fear of imminent serious bodily injury by use of a deadly weapon.”
Leon’s gun wasn’t loaded when it was confiscated and presumably wasn’t loaded at the time of the robbery, authorities said, but there was no way for the victim to know that.
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert was on vacation Friday and couldn’t be reached for comment. The prosecutor in the case indicated in court Thursday that the sentences for the two charges will be served consecutively, according to the court file. That will increase Leon’s time in prison. Sentences are often served concurrently. Leon will be sentenced June 3.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is investigating Leon’s immigration status. If he is in the country illegally, he will be deported when he is released from prison.
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