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Sufficient evidence supports grand larceny conviction

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 20, 2022

Sufficient evidence supports grand larceny conviction

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 20, 2022

Sufficient circumstantial evidence support appellant’s conviction for grand larceny of a motor vehicle.


Schafer argues that the trial court erred in convicting him of grand larceny because the evidence was insufficient to prove that he was the one who stole the Explorer. We disagree. …

“[T]he totality of the circumstantial evidence supports the trial court’s conclusion that Schafer stole the Explorer. When DeRenzo [the Explorer’s owner] arrived home from the party, the keys to the Explorer were plainly visible on her dining room table before she and her daughter went to bed.

“At trial, Schafer admitted that he entered DeRenzo’s house about an hour later to retrieve his belongings and charge his phone before leaving the home around 4:30 a.m. Nothing in the record suggests that anyone else came into the house between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. who could have taken the keys.

“DeRenzo’s dogs, who were familiar with Schafer, did not bark as they would have if a stranger had entered the house, and by 5:30 a.m., DeRenzo’s neighbor, while walking her dog, noticed that the Explorer was gone.

“DeRenzo finally located the Explorer a few weeks later in an impound lot in Bristol where Schafer said he was going after the party.

“Schafer’s allegations that another partygoer could have taken the Explorer or the fact that the Explorer was subsequently involved in a crime in Bristol that did not involve him did ‘not add to the burden of proof placed upon the Commonwealth.’ …

“No evidence contained in the record demonstrated that another partygoer entered DeRenzo’s house, and the Commonwealth need only exclude those hypotheses that ‘flow from the evidence[.]’ …

“Moreover, the trial court was entitled to reasonably infer that once DeRenzo accused Schafer of stealing the Explorer, Schafer either gave or sold the Explorer to the person who used it in the crime before abandoning the vehicle altogether in Bristol.”


“Schafer also contends that the trial court abused its discretion when it sentenced him to two years and eleven months’ imprisonment with no time suspended, a post-release term of three years with post-release supervision of three years, and good behavior for five years. We disagree. …

“Schafer’s sentence was within the range set by the legislature. …

“Schafer argued that the trial court should not have been allowed to consider his lack of remorse in determining his sentence. However, it was within the trial court’s purview to weigh all the evidence presented at sentencing. …

“The record shows that the trial court considered all the mitigation evidence, including Schafer’s argument that his opportunities had been stalled because of his incarceration, that he was a trustee at the jail, and had lost his home and fiancée after his arrest.

“However, the trial court was well within its discretion to also balance that mitigation evidence and Schafer’s argument for leniency with aggravating factors including Schafer’s lack of credibility, lack of remorse, and prior criminal history that reflected that he was likely not amenable to supervision.

“After considering all the circumstances, the trial court imposed the sentence that it deemed appropriate. Hence, Schafer’s sentence was ‘within the statutory range, and our task is complete.’”


Schafer v. Commonwealth, Record No. 0225-22-1, Nov. 1, 2022. CAV (Athey). From the Circuit Court of the City of Suffolk (Glassman). Brittany T. Barnes for appellant. Robin M. Nagel, Jason S. Miyares for appellee. VLW 022-7-499, 7 pp.

VLW 022-7-499

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