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Home / Opinion Digests / Criminal Practice / Criminal Law – Breaking or Entering a Motor Vehicle – Sufficiency of Evidence – Intent to Commit Larceny

Criminal Law – Breaking or Entering a Motor Vehicle – Sufficiency of Evidence – Intent to Commit Larceny

Defendant’s motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence of intent to commit larceny was correctly denied where the state’s evidence supported a theory that defendant broke into the vehicle to search for valuables and retreated when he was caught by officers.

We affirm defendant’s conviction and judgment of sentence.

Off-duty police officers patrolling an apartment complex observed defendant standing between two parked cars; when the officers went by again, they saw defendant leaning through the passenger door of one of the vehicles. Defendant immediately began walking away from the officers and ignored them when they called out to let defendant know he had left the car door open. The officers detained defendant, who claimed that a friend had let him use the car but could not identify the friend.

The owner of the vehicle confirmed that defendant did not have permission to be in the vehicle. The owner further stated that, although nothing was missing from inside the vehicle it had been “messed up” inside with napkins from the center console covered in blood and strewn about the cabin.

Defendant moved to dismiss his charges, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he had intent to commit larceny inside the vehicle. The trial court denied the motion and a jury convicted defendant.

We rule that the state presented sufficient evidence for a jury to reasonably infer that defendant had intent to commit larceny inside the vehicle. We acknowledge that the evidence could reasonably support defendant’s theory that he injured his hand and entered the vehicle to find something to clean up his blood. However, we hold that the evidence could also reasonably support the state’s theory that defendant broke into the vehicle looking for valuables and was interrupted when officers arrived. We hold that the decision of what reasonable inferences to draw from the evidence is for the jury.

Affirmed.

State v. Barnard (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-189-18, 7 pp.) (Dietz, J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County Superior Court (Charles Malcolm Viser, J.) Lisa A. Bakale-Wise for appellant. Marilyn Fuller for appellee. N.C. App. Unpub.


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