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People v. Anderson

December 02, 1999

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT, V. RENARD ANDERSON, APPELLEE.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Miller

Agenda 11-September 1999.

Defendant, Renard Anderson, was charged by indictment in the circuit court of Cook County with aggravated possession of a stolen motor vehicle (625 ILCS 5/4-103.2(a)(7)(A) (West 1992)), possession of a stolen motor vehicle (625 ILCS 5/4-103(a)(1) (West 1992)), and possession of burglary tools (720 ILCS 5/19-2 (West 1992)). Following a bench trial, defendant was found guilty of possession of a stolen motor vehicle. The trial Judge sentenced defendant as a Class X offender to six years' imprisonment. Defendant appealed, and the appellate court reversed. 294 Ill. App. 3d 1039. We allowed the State's petition for leave to appeal (177 Ill. 2d R. 315(a)), and we now reverse the judgment of the appellate court and affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

BACKGROUND

The following evidence was presented at trial. Velyne Zumm testified that on July 20, 1994, her dark-blue 1989 Pontiac Trans Am was stolen from her driveway. Zumm stated that, at the time of the theft, her car was in running condition with no damage. Zumm further testified that she did not give anyone permission or authority to use her car. Zumm next saw her car two days later, on July 22, 1994. On that date, Zumm observed that the passenger door lock and trunk lock were punched out, the steering column was torn apart, and the stereo and spare tire were missing. Zumm further observed in the car several packages of meat and two screwdrivers: neither the meat nor the tools were hers.

Anthony Bartolomei, a Chicago Heights police officer, testified that on July 22, 1994, at approximately 1:30 a.m., he and his partner, Alex Ramano, were in an unmarked vehicle stopped at the corner of 16th and Halsted Streets in Chicago Heights. There they observed a dark-blue Pontiac Trans Am heading east on 16th Street. Both officers noticed that the driver of the Trans Am looked like the suspect wanted for a shooting earlier that evening in another part of Chicago Heights. The officers activated their emergency lights and attempted to stop the Trans Am. As the officers moved behind the Trans Am, they observed two individuals in the Trans Am simultaneously look back at them. Rather than stopping, the Trans Am sped off. After a high-speed chase, the Trans Am swerved off the road, collided with a planter, and came to rest. Prior to the Trans Am's coming to rest, both occupants jumped out and attempted to flee. Bartolomei testified that, once the two individuals were in custody, he learned that the Trans Am was stolen. An examination of the vehicle revealed that both the trunk and passenger side locks were punched out, the steering column was ripped out, the radio was missing, and no keys were in the ignition. There were, however, two screwdrivers on the driver's side floorboard.

Bartolomei testified that, later that day, he spoke to defendant and then prepared a written account of defendant's oral statement. Defendant reviewed and signed the following statement:

"I was in Dolton at Fairway Foods. I went inside to boost some meat. I met up with a guy I recognized who was boosting also. I asked him if he had a car. He told me yeah, he did.

He asked me if I was going to boost anything. I said yeah I was. He told me when I come [sic] out that he would have the car running on the side of the store.

He walked out, waited for me to come out.

I left the store about five minutes later. He got into a blue Pontiac Grand [sic] Am that he was driving.

We drove to an unknown block around 127th Street in Chicago and sold the meat I took from the store.

We then drove to another area in Chicago and bought two bags of rock cocaine. We smoked the dope inside and we wanted more.

At this point the car dies out and I ask him where's [sic] your keys. He told me that he didn't need his keys because ...


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