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Thefts from different rooms not a single felony

A defendant who was involved in the theft of property from different rooms of the house, by different people and at different times, could not argue the thefts constituted a single felony.

Background

Tateana A. Wells was convicted of grand larceny, grand larceny of a firearm and felony eluding. On appeal, she argues that the trial court erred in denying her motion to strike the eluding offense based upon the commonwealth’s failure to prove venue. Further, she contends that the trial court erred in denying her motion to strike the second-charged larceny under the single larceny doctrine.

Venue

Appellant argues that the trial court erred in not granting her motion to strike the evidence on the eluding offense because the commonwealth had failed to prove venue.

The evidence showed that appellant drove a vehicle down the driveway from the victim’s residence, which was located in Appomattox County, and almost immediately encountered Deputy Burton after leaving the driveway and entering Old Grist Mill Road. Further, Deputy Burton affirmed that he pursued the vehicle on “county” roads. This evidence was sufficient to raise a “strong presumption” that appellant’s conduct in Appomattox County interfered with or endangered the operation of the law-enforcement vehicle or a person. Accordingly, the trial court did not err in refusing to grant appellant’s motion to strike the eluding charge.

Single larceny doctrine

Appellant further argues that the trial court erred in denying her motion to strike the grand larceny of a firearm offense because her actions constituted one larceny under the single larceny doctrine. Appellant contends that the single larceny doctrine applies in this case because the two larcenies occurred in a short window of time within the same home, and because the evidence did not establish that she possessed two separate criminal intents—one for the firearms, and one for the personal property.

Here, although the two incidents occurred in the same house, they occurred in different rooms of the house, by different people and at different times. Appellant removed the video game items and television from the living room and left the residence several times to take the items to the car. Wells and Pollard stayed in the residence and subsequently took the rifle from Cash Neighbors who was inside the home. These facts show that in this case there were “intervening events” that occurred between the two events. Furthermore, the trial court could reasonably infer that appellant’s intent to steal the items from the living room was not the same intent as Pollard’s and Wells’ intent to steal the rifle from Neighbors, especially so in this case because the thefts were committed by different perpetrators against different victims.

Therefore, we hold that contrary to appellant’s arguments, the trial court did not err in rejecting the applicability of the single larceny doctrine and convicting her of grand larceny and grand larceny of a firearm.

Affirmed.

Wells v. Commonwealth, Record No. 0896-18-2, June 18, 2019. CAV (Malveaux) from Appomattox Cir. Ct. (Nelson). F.E. “Tripp” Isenhour III for Appellant, Leah A. Darron for Appellee. VLW No. 019-7-109, 11 pp. Unpublished.