Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County. No. 94CF460. Honorable William T. Caisley, Judge Presiding.
Released for Publication March 20, 1996. As Corrected August 26, 1996.
Honorable Robert W. Cook, P.j., Honorable Robert J. Steigmann, J., Honorable James A. Knecht, J., Concurring. Presiding Justice Cook delivered the opinion of the court:
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cook
PRESIDING JUSTICE COOK delivered the opinion of the court:
Following a jury trial, defendant Larry W. Scott was convicted of theft of property having a value in excess of $300 in violation of section 16-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Criminal Code) (720 ILCS 5/16-1 (West 1992)). He was sentenced to four years in prison. On appeal, defendant argues that (1) the indictment failed to state an offense, and (2) the trial court erred in the manner in which it allowed the State to impeach him with prior convictions. We affirm.
In May 1994, a police officer investigating a burglary of Roger's Motorcycle Parts was told by the owner that several leather jackets had been stolen. One of the jackets was an unusual handmade "Country Cobbler" jacket inlaid with snakeskin.
Another investigating officer, Henry Craft, saw defendant walking down the street carrying a white plastic trash bag. The contents of the bag "appeared to be rigid in nature." After Craft drove past defendant, he saw defendant turn into a yard. Defendant then turned back out onto the street. Craft stopped defendant and asked him what was in the bag. At this point, defendant became very nervous and started to shake. Defendant told Craft there was a jacket in the bag and, at Craft's request, opened the bag for Craft to see. The bag contained a black leather jacket with snakeskin inlays matching the description of one of the jackets stolen from Roger's Motorcycle Parts. Craft arrested defendant and read defendant his Miranda rights. Defendant volunteered that he had found the jacket by the Red Fox food store, which is located across the street from Roger's Motorcycle Parts.
At the police station, defendant was interviewed by Officer Terry Young. Defendant again stated that he found the jacket next to the Red Fox food store. Young told defendant that area had been searched and that the jacket had not been there. Defendant then claimed that he bought the jacket from a stranger at a truck stop for $50. Young told defendant that he did not believe this either. Defendant then admitted having bought it from a man named Mike for $50. Defendant did not know Mike's last name. Defendant said he did not know the jacket was stolen, although he admitted that he got a real good deal on a jacket of that quality. Subsequent investigation revealed that Mike's last name was Buckley. Young testified that Buckley is a "street person."
Defendant was charged with theft of property having a value in excess of $300 in violation of section 16-1 of the Criminal Code. The information and indictment read:
"The STATE'S ATTORNEY of McLean County *** charges that LARRY W. SCOTT on or about the 9TH day of MAY, 1994[,] at BLOOMINGTON *** committed the offense of THEFT OVER $300.00 BY POSSESSION in that he knowingly OBTAINED CONTROL OVER STOLEN PROPERTY, A LEATHER JACKET OF ROGER'S MOTORCYCLE PARTS, KNOWING THE PROPERTY TO HAVE BEEN STOLEN OR UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES AS WOULD REASONABLY INDUCE HIM TO BELIEVE THE PROPERTY WAS STOLEN, THE VALUE OF WHICH EXCEEDED $300.00 in violation of section 5/16-1, Chapter 720, Illinois Compiled Statutes (1992)."
At trial, defendant said he had been in town visiting a friend, William Rozier. Sometime after 1 a.m., a man named Mike Buckley arrived at Rozier's home. Mike was clean-cut and casually dressed. He did not look like a street person. Mike left the house and later returned wearing the leather jacket in question. Defendant testified that Mike had no other jackets with him at the time. Mike offered to sell the jacket for $100. Defendant refused. Mike then offered to sell the jacket for $50, and defendant agreed to purchase the jacket. Mike never told defendant the jacket was stolen, and nothing led defendant to believe the jacket was stolen. Defendant then left Rozier's home. As defendant left, he noticed Mike had other jackets on the porch. At this point, Mike was trying to sell a jacket to Rozier.
Defendant said he was cutting through a yard to get to his car, but then he saw the police car drive by so he decided to get back on the sidewalk. Defendant said the policeman approached him and asked him about a burglary. Defendant said he lied about where he got the jacket because he was afraid he might be accused of committing the burglary and that he thought the lie would be a good alibi.
On rebuttal, the State impeached defendant with his 1991 misdemeanor conviction of retail theft of two Nintendo videogames from Sears, his 1992 misdemeanor conviction of deceptive practices for bouncing an $87.40 check to Wal-Mart, and his 1994 felony convictions of deceptive practices for bouncing a $615.74 check and a $953.53 check to Midas Mufflers. ...