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Unexplained possession

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March 29, 2010, 09:34
Unexplained possession
We have a pending BMV case where the defendant is accused of stealing a labtop from a company truck.

Our victim says that back in June he had his company truck parked in front of his residence and left the doors unlocked. Someone broke in and ran off with the company laptop.

Two months later in late August, the Alpine Police Department gets a report from a third party stating that our defendant was trying to sell him a laptop for a $100 and he thought it stolen. This third party and the Alpine PD looked at the contents of the bag and noticed paperwork inside that belonged to our victim's company, including ones with a Kerrville address. The serial number also came back stolen. For whatever reason our PD doesn't hear of this until November.

Our defendant's listed address at the time the warramt was issued was a Kerrville address and the company paperwork also listed a Kerrville address. Our defendant also has a lengthly criminal history that includes convictions for Credit Card Abuse and...Burglary of a Motor Vehicle.

What are the odds that a person from Kerrville in possession of a stolen labtop from kerrville, right down to the company paper work from Kerrville, is trying to hock it in a town five hours away was also the one who stole it? I'd say pretty darn good.

I'm aware that an inference of guilt can be made when someone has unexplained possession of stolen property, but it has to be recent. My concern is the length of time between the offense date and the discovery of the property. It's a difference of more than 70 days.

Other than his possession of the property under very suspicious circumstances, I have nothing tying his directly to the burglary

I have also considered changing the charge to theft: possession of stolen property since anyone who put a little bit of thought into it would have seen the red flags. Obviously our third party did since he immediately came to that conclusion and called the police.

[This message was edited by Ceaton on 03-29-10 at .]
March 29, 2010, 11:00
I think I'd go with theft by possession rather than a burglary case built on recent unexplained possession.

The other items (paperwork) you mention go to defeat knowledge that he was sold the laptop by another or that he otherwise ended up with the laptop via innocent means. The paperwork and documents tend to show a knowledge that this laptop belonged to the folks whose names are on the documents.

There are no facts in your hypo that show this defendant, albeit from your town, in possession of the laptop in your jurisdiction. Brewster Co has the theft by exercising control.

I'm sure the story will be he met up with a friend whose name he can't recall from Kerrville while they were in Alpine, and that he bought the laptop from his friend with no name to help him out, so that none of the jurisdictional elements tie him and the property to your jurisdiction.
March 29, 2010, 21:59
Terry Breen
Greg, you're such a cynic.
March 30, 2010, 07:03
Well, the bad news for him is that Brewster County already wants a piece of him on unrelated matters.
March 30, 2010, 13:55
Problem solved, Mr. C.