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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ANNA BLOSSER (02/18/77)

decided: February 18, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ANNA BLOSSER, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division, at Nos. 7406261A and 7405998A. Nos. 201 and 202 April Term, 1976.

COUNSEL

John J. Dean and Anthony J. Lalama, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Robert L. Campbell and Robert L. Eberhardt, Assistant District Attorneys, and John J. Hickton, District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ.

Author: Price

[ 245 Pa. Super. Page 559]

On March 12, 1975, the appellant was convicted by the court below, sitting without a jury, of criminal conspiracy*fn1 and theft by deception.*fn2 The appellant now contends that the evidence adduced at trial by the Commonwealth was insufficient to sustain the convictions.

In determining whether the evidence was sufficient to support a verdict of guilty, we view the Commonwealth's evidence as true and recognize that the

[ 245 Pa. Super. Page 560]

    prosecution is entitled to all reasonable inferences therefrom. Commonwealth v. Eiland, 450 Pa. 566, 301 A.2d 651 (1973); Commonwealth v. Portalatin, 223 Pa. Super. 33, 297 A.2d 144 (1972). So viewed, the record reveals the following.

On August 31, 1974, the Keating Volunteer Fire Company of Ross Township near Pittsburgh conducted a raffle having as first prize a new automobile. The custom at this annual drawing was to seek nonresident volunteers from the audience to pick the winning ticket. The appellant and her two co-defendants*fn3 responded to this request, ascended the stage, and stated that they resided in Ohio, Texas, and New York.*fn4 The record shows that the hand of co-defendant Higgins, who was wearing a long-sleeve dress, could not be seen as she reached into the raffle basket bursting with ticket stubs. The winning ticket, wrinkled whereas all others were smooth, was that of one D. M. Kraft of R.D. # 2, Beaver, Pennsylvania. Subsequent investigation revealed that no D. M. Kraft resided at any Beaver County address. Shortly after the drawing, a woman, who identified herself as D. M. Kraft, telephoned the fire-house and inquired about her prize. This call aroused the suspicions of several firemen because the fire-house has an unlisted number. On September 3, 1974, appellant's co-defendant Lechner, returned to the fire-house, represented herself as D. M. Kraft, and received her prize. Co-defendant Higgins accompanied Lechner to the fire-house.

Six weeks prior to the Keating fire-house raffle, a similar drawing was held at the Cherry City Volunteer Fire Department in Shaler Township. At Cherry City, the practice had developed to ask out-of-state residents driving past the fire-house to select the winning ticket. Just

[ 245 Pa. Super. Page 561]

    as the raffle officials were seeking nonresident volunteers, the appellant, and co-defendant Higgins, drove past the fire-house, located on a local road. In a situation similar to the Keating drawing, co-defendant Higgins, again wearing a long-sleeve dress and observed by the appellant, drew the winning ticket. The winner of the $5,000 first prize was no other than D. Lechner, appellant's co-defendant. As at Keating, the residence ...


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