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COMMONWEALTH v. CAMPBELL (03/31/75)

decided: March 31, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
CAMPBELL, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, April T., 1973, No. 35, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Thomas Campbell.

COUNSEL

Calvin S. Drayer, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

Stewart J. Greenleaf, Assistant District Attorney, with him J. David Bean, Assistant District Attorney, William T. Nicholas, First Assistant District Attorney, and Milton O. Moss, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, and Spaeth, JJ. (Van der Voort, J., absent). Opinion by Price, J. Jacobs, J., dissents. Van der Voort, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Price

[ 233 Pa. Super. Page 456]

Appellant, following a non-jury trial on October 16 and 17, 1973, was convicted of receiving stolen goods.*fn1 Prior to trial, a nolle prosequi was entered on a charge of larceny. After a denial of post-trial motions, he was sentenced to a term of one to five years. The only proper issue raised in this appeal is whether there was sufficient evidence to find that appellant knew the property possessed was stolen and hence to support this conviction. The only element at issue is appellant's guilty knowledge since it is not disputed that the property was stolen and appellant admits that he was in possession prior to his arrest. Because we do find sufficient evidence to support the essential element of guilty knowledge, we will affirm the conviction and the judgment of sentence.

The record, read in the light most favorable to the verdict winner, Commonwealth v. Porter, 229 Pa. Superior Ct. 314, 323 A.2d 128 (1974), reveals that on February 16, 1973, a powder blue 1964 Buick was stolen in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Appellant had no connection with its owner, Mr. Marvin D. Suer.

On March 23, 1973, exactly five weeks later and approximately six miles from the point where the car was stolen, a police officer observed appellant driving a 1964 blue Buick with a black top. Because of a police bulletin previously issued, it was believed this vehicle, repainted,

[ 233 Pa. Super. Page 457]

    was the vehicle stolen from Mr. Suer on February 16, 1973. Appellant, kept under observation, drove the car several miles before parking this vehicle in the yard of a home owned by a Mr. Pelegie, who was never further identified,*fn2 and frequented by a Mr. Flowers who was with appellant at the time of his arrest.

After parking this vehicle, appellant entered a vehicle driven by Mr. Flowers. Some three or four miles later, appellant and Mr. Flowers were stopped by four or five police cars using red lights and sirens, although they stopped immediately without any attempt to escape this armada. The police, with at least one shot gun and one revolver at the ready, arrested appellant and apparently also arrested Mr. Flowers. The record never enlightens us as to the reasons for this display and since there is no issue on this appeal to which it is relevant, we pass it with reluctance as another of the wonderful little mysteries for which we shall never have an answer.*fn3

The car bore a license plate which had been stolen.*fn4 The top of the car had been crudely painted black to resemble a vinyl roof, obviously at a time subsequent to February 16, 1973, and the lower court found it was painted in such a manner as to indicate the freshness of this paint job. The plate bearing the manufacturer's serial number was so loosely attached to the inside door post that ...


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