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People v. Lewis

JULY 25, 1973.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

CHARLES LEWIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN J. MORAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE BURMAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant, Charles Lewis, appeals from a finding of guilty after a bench trial on a charge of theft from Sears Roebuck & Company. Defendant was sentenced to serve one hundred and twenty days in the House of Correction.

On appeal, defendant contends (1) that the complaint was defective in failing to sufficiently aver the ownership of the property allegedly stolen, (2) that defendant did not knowingly waive his right to a jury trial, and (3) that the court improperly sentenced him to the House of Correction when the latter institution had no drug rehabilitation program and the defendant was an admitted drug addict.

The record reveals that Thornie Olden, a special agent for Sears, arrested defendant on November 20, 1970. Olden stated that he observed the defendant and Betty Harris, the co-defendant, at about 5:30 P.M. in the ladies wear department, and saw the defendant remove a poncho from a rack and place it in a bag. Olden testified that he followed defendant and stopped him outside the building. Defendant, who testified on his own behalf, admitted that he put the poncho in the bag, but said that he thought it was one previously purchased by Betty Harris at another store.

Defendant first contends that the complaint was defective in that it did not sufficiently aver ownership of the property allegedly stolen.

The statute under which the defendant was charged, Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 38, par. 16-1, provides in part:

"A person commits theft when he knowingly:

(a) Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over property of the owner * * *

and

(1) Intends to deprive the owner permanently of the use or benefit of the property * * *."

The complaint charged that defendant committed the offense of theft in that he "knowingly obtained unauthorized control over a Woman's Poncho, of the value of less than $150.00 U.S.C. the property of Sears Roebuck & Company with the intention to permanently deprive the said Sears Roebuck & Company of the use and benefit of said property."

Defendant alleges that the complaint is defective in that it does not allege that Sears Roebuck & Company is the proper name of a corporation or that Sears is licensed to do business in the State of Illinois.

• 1, 2 We think that the allegation in the complaint that the goods were "the property of Sears Roebuck & Company" adequately avers that the complainant is a corporate entity capable of owning property. The use of the word "company" under Section 9 of the Business Corporation Act, Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 32, par. 157.9(a), connotes corporate existence. (See People v. Whittaker, 45 Ill.2d 491, 259 N.E.2d 787.) This being so, ownership was properly alleged. (People v. Voleta, 57 Ill. App.2d 279, 206 N.E.2d 737.) We know of no requirement that the complaint must aver that complainant is licensed to do business in Illinois, nor does defendant suggest any authority for that proposition.

Defendant admits that "Sears Roebuck & Company" is the proper corporate name of the complaining entity. The instant case is therefore distinguishable from People v. Baskin, 119 Ill. App.2d 18, 255 N.E.2d 42, cited by defendant. We conclude that there is nothing in the complaint which could have misled defendant in preparing his defense or put him in danger ...


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