Gun thief sentenced to 90 days in jail |

Gun thief sentenced to 90 days in jail

Alexis DeLaCruz

— A 20-year-old Steamboat Springs man was sentenced to 90 days in Routt County Jail for breaking into a home and stealing about $2,300 worth of weapons.

Benjamin Jacob Nierenberg also was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution during a hearing in Routt County District Court on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s sentencing was the result of three plea offers accepted by Nierenberg. In exchange for his guilty plea to charges of felony attempted theft and two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed felony charges of criminal mischief and violating bail bond conditions.

Nierenberg was arrested in December 2005 on suspicion that he and two other Steamboat men broke into an acquaintance’s house and stole $2,300 worth of rifles, shotguns and compound bows. Nierenberg later was arrested on two occasions for violating his bail bond conditions.

During the sentencing Tuesday, Nierenberg said he was sorry for his crimes and that he hopes to make a better future for himself.

“I just want to apologize to those I have inconvenienced or hurt. What I did was wrong, selfish, stupid,” he said.

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District Judge Shelley Hill told Nierenberg she sensed his attitude has changed in recent months.

“I’m confident that you’re going to make it. I don’t know what you were thinking when you did the things you did,” she said. “I think you summarized it well by calling your actions stupid.”

Nierenberg’s attorney, Kris Hammond, told Hill that his client is committed to changing his lifestyle.

“In the several months he’s been incarcerated, he’s demonstrated a desire to change. It’s not just the ‘I’ll say anything and do whatever to get out of here,'” he said. “It is my opinion that he has a genuine desire to change.”

One of the other two men involved in the 2005 theft was sentenced earlier this year to a sentence similar to Nierenberg’s. The other defendant has not appeared at his last scheduled court dates.