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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. WILLIAM FRANKS (10/26/79)

filed: October 26, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
WILLIAM FRANKS, APPELLANT



No. 2130 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Criminal Division, No. 1308-1977.

COUNSEL

Margaret H. Poswistilo, Easton, for appellant.

John E. Gallagher, District Attorney, Easton, submitted a brief on behalf of the Commonwealth, appellee.

Price, Spaeth and Lipez, JJ.

Author: Price

[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 280]

Following a jury trial completed on September 14, 1977, appellant was found guilty of burglary.*fn1 Post-trial motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment were denied, and he was subsequently sentenced to a term of imprisonment of from three to six years. Because we now determine appellant's allegations of error by the trial court to be without merit, we affirm that judgment of sentence.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner, the facts adduced at trial are as follows. At approximately 2:35 a. m. on July 13, 1977, the owners of a garage located in Bangor, Northampton County, heard noises emanating from the garage and notified the police. Two officers responded to the call and arrived at the scene shortly thereafter. Officer Hughes exited the patrol car and approached the front door of the garage. Through the glass door he observed appellant come from behind the cash register to just in front of the door. While attempting to open the door, appellant failed to respond to Officer Hughes'

[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 281]

    order to halt. Finally, in response to the officer's slight step backward from the door, appellant looked upward. Officer Hughes again ordered him to halt and placed the barrel of his shotgun to the window, at which time appellant ran and exited the building through a broken window. He was immediately pursued by Officer Hughes, but the chase was futile and ultimately abandoned. Examination of the garage then revealed that $8.79 had been taken from the cash register.

Officer Hughes relayed his identification of the burglar, who he recognized as appellant, to the department, and appellant was apprehended at his home at 5:00 a. m. The arresting officers confiscated $8.72 in change and a one dollar bill from appellant's bureau. Also removed from a pile of clothing were articles of apparel matching those that had been worn by the burglar.

Appellant first challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. The test for determining whether the evidence in a criminal case is sufficient is, accepting as true all the Commonwealth's evidence and all reasonable inferences therefrom, there is sufficient evidence to enable the trier of fact to find every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Holmes, 482 Pa. 97, 393 A.2d 397 (1978); Commonwealth v. Coades, 260 Pa. Super. 327, 394 A.2d 575 (1978). Instantly, appellant concedes that sufficient evidence was adduced to indicate that a burglary was committed, but disputes his identification as the culprit. Pertinent to this issue, the testimony indicates that Officer Hughes observed appellant for some ten to fifteen seconds while they stood face to face approximately two feet apart and separated by the glass of the garage front door. A large lighted clock in the office illuminated appellant's face, and several streetlights shone on the garage. Officer Hughes recognized appellant from previous encounters, and testified positively that appellant was the individual in the gas station.

Appellant would emphasize the fact that his fingerprints were not found at the scene ...


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