BOSTON -- The state Appeals Court has tossed the most serious conviction against the operator of a Tyngsboro pizzeria charged with using a baseball bat to beat an employee he thought had stolen from him.

The court reversed an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon conviction against Eric Sideri. He was sentenced to probation on lesser charges.

Sideri had been sentenced to up to five years in prison following his conviction in February 2012. His lawyer said she will seek bail for Sideri.

The district attorney's office has 28 days to appeal.

Prosecutors say Sideri beat an employee of Angela's Coal Fired Pizza in March 2009 because he thought the other man had stolen $21,000 from the restaurant. Police say there was no evidence the victim stole the money.

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