A Romanian citizen was released from jail after being arrested on Sept. 30, charged with felony grand theft. A plea agreement between the defense and prosecution led to the defendant pleading guilty to a misdemeanor petit theft charge and was credited for the 16 days he spent in jail and then released.
Alexandru Vezentan, 23, was originally charged with grand theft, according to a probable-cause affidavit written by Ketchum policeman Allen Compton. According to the affidavit, Vezentan was attempting to sell a bike to his co-workers, which was reportedly stolen.
When Vezentan was interviewed by police, he gave three different stories, ultimately stating that he had purchased the bike from someone outside the Casino bar in Ketchum for $300, and was trying to sell the bike for $3,000, records state. During a change-of-plea and sentencing hearing Oct. 15, Vezentan’s public defense attorney Cheri Hicks explained Vezentan’s reasoning.
According to Hicks, Vezentan had arrived in Ketchum on a J1 visa under the pretense that he would be working a well-paid job over the summer and make a lot of money. However, once Vezentan arrived, the cost of living was more than expected and the only job he could find was as a busser making minimal salary and nearly no tips. Before flying to the U.S., Vezentan had taken out a loan in Romania in order to pay for travel and the initial rent when he arrived. Hicks said that he had made a very poor decision but had learned from his mistake and simply wanted to return home. Prosecuting attorney Matt Fredback said he had spoken with the victim whose bike was stolen and was informed that he did not want to proceed with the felony charge and agreed with the plea agreement.
Presiding Judge Ted Israel followed the sentencing recommendations of the prosecution, sentencing Vezentan to 16 days in jail, with credit for the 16 days he served between Sept. 30 and Oct. 15 and court costs of $157.50. Following his release from jail, Vezentan was scheduled to return back to Romania on Oct. 17.