Grand jury indicts Cannone

Cannone

A Umatilla Grand Jury has indicted former Hamley Steakhouse manager Vince Cannone on theft charges related to his employment with the downtown Pendleton establishment.

The grand jury handed up the indictment late Thursday afternoon. Cannone faces seven counts in all:

? one count of first-degree theft in the amount of $5,000-$10,000;

? one count of first-degree theft in the amount of $1,000-$5,000;

? two counts of first-degree theft of services in the amount of $1,000-$5,000;

? two counts of theft by taking more than $750;

? and one count of theft by taking less than $750.

The first six charges are felonies and the last is a misdemeanor.

Umatilla County District Attorney Dean Gushwa said the state is alleging Cannone took cash, gift certificates and services without paying for them in separate instances.

As of this morning, Cannone didn't know about the indictment, a situation Gushwa said was his first as district attorney. Usually, he said, a suspect is in custody or has been arrested before the indictment.

Gushwa said his office will send a letter to Cannone about the charges, telling him when to appear at the Umatilla County Courthouse in Pendleton. The court hadn't yet scheduled Cannone for an arraignment, Gushwa said.

Cannone was a partner in the steakhouse with Parley Pearce and Blair Woodfield, the pair who also own the Hamley's store and coffee shop.

In 2008, Pearce and Woodfield suspected Cannone was stealing from the restaurant and reported that to Pendleton police. After discussing the situation with an attorney, Pearce and Woodfield fired Cannone.

Pendleton Police Cpl. Howard Bowen began investigating the theft allegations against Cannone on May 30, 2008. Police Lt. Mark Swanson said the investigation focused on financial activity within the restaurant's business accounts.

The case has been smouldering for a while, Pearce said, because it took investigators time to gather the financial evidence. Pearce explained the "cowboy business" relies on the tradition of handshakes and honesty and Cannone simply doesn't fit that model.

In January, Anderson Perry & Associates hired Cannone as the firm's business development manager for eastern Washington. Then in June he bought and reopened Jacobi's Cafe, a Walla Walla restaurant he had owned about a decade earlier. He and his family live in Walla Walla and run the restaurant.

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