Judge modifies bail for one of two State Patty’s burglary suspects

lfalce@centredaily.comApril 23, 2014 

Two men charged with burglarizing apartments on State Patty’s Day waived their preliminary hearings Wednesday, but the prosecution still sought a separate bail hearing for one.

Centre County Assistant District Attorney Nathan Boob asked District Judge Steven Lachman to modify bail for Jesse T. Hribar, 22, of Monaca.

Bail for Hribar was adjusted from $50,000 unsecured to $25,000 secured. Boob told the judge that he felt the $50,000 number was “appropriate” but wanted it changed to a secured bond to reflect the man’s criminal record.

Hribar and Andrew Ronczka, 23, also of Monaca, face multiple felony counts of burglary and criminal trespass, as well as conspiracy, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

Boob argued that the Geneva College student should meet a higher bail requirement because he was on probation at the time of the March 1 offenses. Hribar pleaded guilty in 2012 to charges of access device fraud, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. He will be on probation until November.

He also has pending theft charges from a January incident in Pittsburgh, Boob said.

“He came to our community with no ties and went on a shopping spree through two different apartment complexes,” the prosecutor said. “He tried almost every door on almost every floor.”

Boob said that although Hribar has been cooperative with police, he has also effectively admitted to the crimes and has been caught on video, which led to his identification. Boob said that with his criminal history, the case could merit state prison time, something he doesn’t believe Hribar understands yet and could make him a flight risk.

“It’s a very strong case,” he said.

But defense attorney Richard Settgast countered that the court still has to assume his client is innocent.

“My client has a right to make bail set at a reasonable amount,” he said.

Settgast said his client could probably not make even $10,000 secured bail and that requiring security would likely mean jail time for his client until the case is resolved. He also said that Hribar has enrolled in a drug and alcohol program since the incident.

Lachman split the difference, securing bail but not keeping it at the $50,000 level Boob said seemed appropriate. He modified bail to $25,000 straight.

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