APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES
N. SULLIVAN, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied December 16, 1977.
Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of theft (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 16-1(a)(1)), and was sentenced to a term of one to three years. On appeal he contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The following pertinent evidence was adduced at trial.
He is personnel manager for General Mills, Incorporated, and responsible for the security of its property. He conducted an investigation "shortly after" November 23, 1975, and determined that two IBM electric typewriters had been missing since before the close of business on the previous day. Their value was estimated to be approximately $200 each. They were in good condition and approximately five years old. He identified People's Exhibits 1 and 2 as photographs of the typewriters which he had "occasion to see" and whose sequence numbers he ascertained during his investigation. Defendant was not employed by General Mills, nor authorized to exert any control over the corporation's property.
On cross-examination he admitted that someone reported the theft of the typewriters to the Chicago Police Department, and that they were stolen late in the afternoon of November 22, 1975.
Keith Whitman, Illinois State Police Trooper
On November 23, 1975, at approximately 2:15 a.m. he stopped defendant who was driving a white Vega on the Calumet Expressway and informed him that the car had no tail lights. After inspecting defendant's drivers license, he checked the interior of the car with a flashlight and observed two typewriters and another object covered by a blanket. He asked what was in the back seat and defendant replied that it was phonographic equipment that he was taking to a relative for repairs. He identified People's Exhibits 1 and 2 as photographs of the items he had seen in the back seat of the vehicle. A radio check of the identification number of defendant's vehicle revealed it was reported stolen and that the license plates were issued to a 1967 Oldsmobile. He also noticed that the car's serial number was covered with tape. He placed defendant under arrest for possession of a stolen vehicle, and advised him of his constitutional rights. Defendant then told him that he had borrowed the car from "Doc," that he had gone to East Chicago Heights to meet "Doc" in a tavern, that "Doc" had failed to appear, and that defendant was on his way home to Chicago. Defendant also told him that he knew the typewriters were in the vehicle.
Defendant on his own behalf
On the evening of November 22, 1975, he went with Jimmy Turner and Richard Hayes to Chicago Heights to gamble. By approximately midnight he had lost all of his money so he borrowed $50 from Hayes which he also lost. When Hayes asked for a return of his $50 he responded that he had more money at his home in Chicago, but that he had no way of getting there. Hayes then asked "Doc" to loan defendant his car. He had never seen "Doc" or his car before, and has not seen "Doc" since. Nor did he ever talk to "Doc." As Hayes handed him the keys to the car, they discussed the money he owed Hayes. He then went outside by himself to get the car, which was parked in a lot.
Officer Whitman stopped him while he was driving on the highway towards Chicago. They were soon joined by two plainclothes officers who searched the car. He couldn't explain the items that were in the car, because he "couldn't explain the car." He told the police that "the fellow lent me the car by the name of Doc," and that he did not know that the car was stolen.
He was arrested for the theft of the typewriters approximately two weeks after his November 23 arrest. He has a record which includes two marijuana convictions and a year's probation for criminal trespass to a vehicle. In 1975 he was placed on ...