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Sound Proved Attempted Burglary of Garage

The Court of Appeals affirms defendant’s bench trial convictions for attempted burglary with intent to commit larceny in violation of Va. Code §§ 18.2-91 and 18.2-26 based on homeowner’s testimony that defendant knew the garage contents from visiting his stepdaughter and he heard a metallic rumbling sound when he approached the garage near midnight and saw defendant fleeing.

Around 11:30 p.m. one night in September, homeowner went to investigate why his two dogs were barking.  The dogs ran to the rear of the garage.  Homeowner heard a metallic rumbling sound as he approached and saw defendant fleeing with another man who had visited his stepdaughter numerous times and used tools from the garage where lawn mowers, tools, guns and furniture were stored.  Homeowner found the garage window smashed out with the whole frame destroyed.  The trial court denied defendant’s motion to strike and convicted him of attempted burglary with intent to commit larceny.

On appeal, defendant disputes the sufficiency of evidence.  We affirm applying our deferential standard of review.  Homeowner’s testimony about hearing a metallic rumbling sound was sufficient to prove the element of breaking in an attempt to enter the garage.  iiiCaminade v. Commonwealth,iii 230 Va. 505 (1986), cited by defendant, is not relevant: this case involves a conviction for attempted burglary not burglary.  The circumstances and defendant’s behavior prove intent to commit larceny.  The evidence shows the co-defendants knew the garage contents, allowing an inference the attempted unlawful entry was to commit larceny.

Conviction affirmed.

Bourne v. Commonwealth (Coleman) No. 1017-11-2, May 22, 2012; Hopewell Cir. Ct. (Campbell) John A. Kirkland for appellant; Steven A. Witmer, Sr. AAG. VLW 012-7-157(UP), 6 pp.

VLW 012-7-157

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