Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 11 CR 16051
Honorable Timothy Joseph Joyce, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE COBBS delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Fitzgerald Smith and Justice
Pucinski concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Following a joint bench trial, defendant Eric McCann and
codefendant Eugene Harriswere convicted of burglary. The trial
court sentenced defendant to seven years' imprisonment as
a Class X offender based upon his criminal history. On
appeal, defendant solely contends that the State failed to
prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because the
trailer that was entered did not constitute a
"building" under the burglary statute. We affirm.
2 Defendant and codefendant were jointly charged with one
count of burglary. The charging instrument alleged that
"they, knowingly and without authority entered a
building, to wit: a trailer, the property of Alexander Matos,
located at 401 N. Damen Avenue *** with the intent to commit
therein a theft."
3 At trial, Alexander Matos testified that he leased space in
an open parking lot at 401 North Damen Avenue where he parked
his 36-foot enclosed two-car racing trailer. The trailer
contained all of his property that he used at the race track,
including engine parts, battery chargers, and all of his
tools. About 7 p.m. on August 29, 2011, Matos left his
trailer locked in an "untouched" condition, with a
large master padlock on the back door and dual locks on the
right side door.
4 About 5:30 the following morning, Matos returned to his
trailer and observed that it was still locked and in an
untouched condition. At that time, Matos also observed
defendant and codefendant walking eastbound with a shopping
cart about 40 to 50 feet from his trailer, which was parked
facing east. Matos recognized defendant and codefendant from
the neighborhood, and knew defendant by his nickname
"Ponytail." Matos then left the parking lot and
went to work at his nearby mechanic shop.
5 About 8:30 that morning, Matos returned to his trailer and
observed that the side door was broken and swung completely
open, and the back door was cracked open and bent with the
padlock and aluminum guardrail hanging from it. Matos ran
inside his trailer and discovered that nearly all of his
property was gone, including his racing parts, aluminum rods,
titanium pistons, copperhead gaskets, two 16-volt battery
chargers, and his telescopic mirror set.
6 Matos called John Mandik, a business acquaintance at
Service Battery, Incorporated, which is a recycling facility
that buys and sells aluminum and copper, located at 2048 West
Hubbard Street. Matos then went to that location and saw
several items of his property, including his rods, pistons,
copper gaskets, and valve covers. While there, Matos viewed a
surveillance video recorded at 7:35 that morning, which
showed defendant and codefendant bringing Matos's
property to the facility. While the surveillance video was
played for the court, Matos identified defendant and
codefendant removing several items of his property from a
bag. Later in the video, the defendants returned with more of
Matos's property, including his tool chest, which
contained several pieces of equipment.
7 About 10:20 a.m., Matos called his friend Hector Badillo,
who owns a body shop at 1917 West Lake Street. Badillo told
Matos that defendant was trying to sell him Matos's
droplights. Matos then went to the body shop and saw Badillo
holding defendant down on the floor while codefendant Harris
stood near the shop door. Police arrived within minutes, and
Matos told them that the defendants had broken into his
trailer and stolen his property.
8 In court, Matos identified photographs of his trailer taken
after the burglary. Matos testified that he never gave either
of the defendants permission to enter his trailer, nor did he
give them permission to remove any of his property. Matos
estimated that over $6000 worth of tools were stolen from his
trailer, only some of which was recovered.
9 Chicago police officer Johnny Estrada testified that at
about 10:30 a.m. on August 30, 2011, he was on patrol with
his partner, Officer Hidalgo, near 1917 West Lake Street when
Matos waved him down and said someone was being held whom he
wanted the police to arrest. Officer Estrada entered the body
shop and saw defendant being held down on the floor by
another man. Officer Estrada knew defendant as
"Ponytail" from prior encounters in the area.
Codefendant Harris was standing nearby, calmly watching
defendant struggle on the floor. Both defendants were
arrested and transported to the police station. After being
advised of his Miranda rights, defendant told
Officer Estrada that he "got the stuff off the trailer
at the Safelight Glass." Officer Estrada explained that
Safelight Glass is located next to the parking lot where
Matos's trailer was parked. During a custodial search,
Officer Estrada recovered from defendant's back pocket a
telescopic mirror used by mechanics to inspect vehicle
10 Chicago police detective Daniel Switalski testified that
during his investigation of the burglary, he advised
defendant of his Miranda rights, at which time
defendant initially told him that he and Harris had found the
items in a dumpster. About two hours later, Detective
Switalski again spoke with defendant and confronted him with
a statement made by codefendant Harris. Defendant then
admitted that he went behind the trailer and broke the lock,
and that both he and Harris entered the trailer and removed
items from therein. Defendant further stated that if he was
the only person who had committed the offense, then he would
have all of the money instead of just half.
11 The trial court found the testimony from Matos, Officer
Estrada, and Detective Switalski credible, and found both
defendant and codefendant guilty of burglary. The court
subsequently sentenced defendant to seven years'