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People v. Cowan

OPINION FILED MAY 20, 1977.

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

v.

WILLIAM D. COWAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS R. CASEY, JR., Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of theft in violation of section 16-1(a) (1) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 16-1(a)(1)) and fined $90. On appeal he contends he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

At trial the following evidence pertinent to this appeal was adduced.

For the State

Carter Brailford

He is an investigator at the Spiegel Warehouse located at 1061 West 35th Street, Chicago. Neither the public nor employees of Spiegel may make purchases at this location. However, there is a retail outlet across the street.

On April 28, 1976, he found a shirt in a cellophane bag under defendant's work cart. The bag had a Spiegel catalog number on it. He marked the shirt, placing a cross by the buttonhole on the right sleeve, and an "s" behind the size label. He then left it under the cart. On May 20, 1974, he saw defendant wearing the shirt and asked him if he could examine it. Defendant agreed. He found it bore the markings he had previously made, however, a label [which said "Quinessa"] was missing.

On cross-examination he stated that after marking the shirt, he checked defendant's work cart "just about every day" between April 29 and May 13 to verify that the shirt was still there. He also stated that Spiegel does not manufacture clothing. Consequently, other merchants may sell the same brand of shirt.

For defendant

Defendant on his own behalf

In April and May, 1976, he was employed by Spiegel as a repacker.

He purchased the shirt in question, along with another similar shirt (which he produced at trial) from a peddler at 35th and Morgan. Together, the two shirts cost him between four and five dollars.

In order to avoid soiling his clothes, he sometimes changed clothing before beginning work. Accordingly, he kept "a couple of shirts" at Spiegel's. In late April 1976 he wore the shirt in question to work. However, because he intended to go out that evening, he changed shirts when he reached Spiegel's. He put his new shirt in a plastic bag and placed it under his work cart. At the end of the day he did not change back into his new shirt, but left it at work.

On cross-examination he stated he did not know the name of the peddler who sold him the shirt. He further stated that he only wore the shirt twice — ...


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