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Grand Larceny for Theft of DVDs

Deborah Elkins//August 4, 2014

Grand Larceny for Theft of DVDs

Deborah Elkins//August 4, 2014

Defendant’s grand larceny conviction will stand based on testimony from a Walmart loss prevention associate who observed defendant approach an unattended shopping cart full of merchandise, remove DVDs the associate had counted that were concealed in clothing, place the DVDs in a Walmart bag and exit the store; the Court of Appeals affirms defendant’s conviction under Va. Code § 18.2-95.

Ample circumstantial evidence proves defendant stole the merchandise and its value exceeded $200. At trial, the associate estimated that 20 DVDs were in the shopping cart at the time he checked it; however, he further testified that a count of the number of DVDs that were missing was conducted and he “knew without a shadow of a doubt” the shopping car contained at least 14 DVDs. He further explained the DVDs were Blu-ray versions of the “Hunger Games” movie and each one sold for $19.96. Thus, the evidence was sufficient to establish that 14 DVDs valued at $19.96 were taken from the shopping cart. This meets the $200 threshold for grand larceny.

Defendant also argues the evidence fails to prove he stole the DVDs because the associate lost sight of him for about 20 seconds during the time the two men left the store through different exits. The associate testified defendant never went through any points of sale and never purchased anything on the date in question. Based on the short period of time defendant was out of the associate’s sight, it is quite reasonable to conclude, as the trial court did, that defendant did not have time to pay for the DVDs before he left the store. Finally, the fact that the DVDs had been concealed under clothing in the shopping cart and that defendant removed them and put them in a Walmart bag that he had apparently brought with him was evidence that he intended to steal the merchandise.

Conviction affirmed.

Freeman v. Commonwealth (Petty) No. 1544-13-1, July 22, 2014; Suffolk Cir.Ct. (Eason) Jean Veness, APD, for appellant; Susan Baumgartner, AAG, for appellee. VLW 014-7-235(UP), 4 pp.

VLW 014-7-235

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