APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon.
LeROY RECHENMACHER, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE GUILD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The defendant, Charles M. Ward, was convicted of theft of a camper valued in excess of $150 in a jury trial in the circuit court of Du Page County and sentenced to 1 1/2-5 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary. On appeal, the defendant contends that the State has failed to prove the essential elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
The record discloses that on or about November 22, 1971, a Ford pickup truck and a turtle-back camper attached to it were stolen from Camper Town in Elgin. On December 1, 1971, one Daryl Rowe received a telephone call from his brother Richard who was in the Waupaca, Wisconsin, county jail. He told Daryl to go to Robert Miekle's farm and move the truck and stolen camper he had left there. Richard also gave Daryl defendant Ward's home telephone number to call if he needed help. The next day Daryl moved both the truck and the camper to Gary's Texaco at Route 53 and Lake Street in Addison. After a few days the owner of the station asked Daryl to remove them. Daryl then called the defendant. He testified that he told the defendant that he had to move the camper, he did not have any place to park it and he wanted to get rid of it. Defendant responded that he would find someone to dispose of the camper and to call back. Daryl then testified that he telephoned the defendant later to inform him that the camper had been moved and was now at the Novac farm. The defendant told Daryl he was still trying to locate someone to take it.
On December 13 Daryl Rowe was questioned by Police Officers John Landers and Gene Gargano about the stolen camper. Daryl admitted his involvement and agreed to cooperate with the police. He then telephoned the defendant and made arrangements to dispose of the camper. The defendant told Daryl to meet him at the defendant's house at 5:30 p.m. the next day. Daryl told this to the police on December 13 and the police arranged for a surveillance of the camper at the Novac farm.
On December 14 Daryl arrived at the defendant's home in Melrose Park at approximately 5:15 p.m. The defendant and Robert Miekle were in the house along with the defendant's family. The three men discussed going to pick up the camper. They decided to put the camper on the truck Daryl was driving since Miekle's truck had a fifth wheel on the back and the camper would not fit onto it. All three of the men left defendant's house and drove to the Novac farm. The defendant left behind an untouched, freshly cooked dinner to go out into the rainy night.
At the Novac farm the police observed all three men placing the camper onto the truck. The defendant made the electrical connections for the lights on the camper. After the men had completed their task, they drove off the farm onto the public road and were arrested.
• 1 The defendant was charged with theft of a camper valued in excess of $150, which is defined by section 16-1(a)(1) of the Criminal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 38, § 16-1(a)(1)) as follows:
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 State had the burden of proving each element of the offense. The defendant stipulated that the camper was, in fact, stolen property and the value was in excess of $150. The State proved beyond any doubt that the camper had been stolen recently (People v. Pride (1959), 16 Ill.2d 82, 92-93, 156 N.E.2d 551, 557), and that the defendant was in exclusive control of the camper at the time of his arrest (People v. Reynolds (1963), 27 Ill.2d 523, 190 N.E.2d 301). In Reynolds the court stated:
"Evidence of recent, exclusive and unexplained possession of stolen property by an accused, either singly or jointly with others, may, of itself, raise an inference of guilt absent other facts and circumstances which leave in the mind of the jury a reasonable doubt as to guilt." 27 Ill.2d 523, 525-26, 190 N.E.2d 301, 302. See also People v. Barber (1974), 20 Ill. App.3d 977, 313 N.E.2d 491.
The defendant contends that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt two elements of the offense: (1) guilty knowledge and (2) intention to permanently deprive the owner of the benefit or use of the camper. Defendant claims that there is only circumstantial proof with regard to these two elements and that to uphold the conviction ...