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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. BENJAMIN ADDISON (10/26/79)

filed: October 26, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
BENJAMIN ADDISON, JR., APPELLANT. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA V. ALBERT S. BLAKNEY, APPELLANT



No. 1774 October Term, 1978, No. 2092 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgments of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Criminal, Nos. 040277 and 040677.

COUNSEL

Janet Mason, Assistant Public Defender, West Chester, for appellants.

Janet Crawford, Assistant District Attorney, West Chester, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Price, Spaeth and Lipez, JJ.

Author: Price

[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 275]

On July 11 and 12, 1977, appellants were jointly tried before a jury which convicted them of burglary,*fn1 theft by unlawful taking,*fn2 criminal trespass,*fn3 and criminal conspiracy.*fn4 Post-trial motions in arrest of judgment were denied, and appellant Addison was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of from two to four years, while appellant Blakney received a prison sentence of not less than eleven and one-half nor more than twenty-three months. Both appellants now contend that the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to sustain the convictions. We disagree and consequently affirm the judgments of sentence.

Reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as verdict winner, Commonwealth v. Mangini, 478 Pa. 147, 386 A.2d 482 (1978), the following facts were adduced at trial. At approximately 4:25 on the morning of February 25, 1977, Stanley Harris was on his way to work when he noticed that a rear light which was usually lit in the Star Social Club, located in West Chester, was extinguished. Being a member of the club, Mr. Harris investigated further and observed a dim glow and a shadowy figure inside the club, the door ajar,*fn5 and both heard and saw two individuals in the vicinity of a railroad station some forty or fifty feet away. Immediately running the short distance to the local police station, Mr. Harris reported his observations. Acting on this report, several officers arrived at the club approximately three to four minutes subsequent to Mr. Harris' initial notice of activity on the grounds. Officer Beans entered the building through the rear door while

[ 271 Pa. Super. Page 276]

Officer Euler remained outside; two other officers stationed themselves by the front entrance. Appellant Addison was arrested by Officer Beans inside the club, while Officer Euler arrested appellant Blakney as he ran out of the rear exit. A search of appellant Addison disclosed eighty quarters in his pockets; nothing was found on appellant Blakney's person. Subsequent examination of the club's interior revealed that the rear door had been broken into, coin boxes in several of the vending machines and the pool table had been rifled, and quantities of cigarettes and liquors had been removed. Most of the last two items were found secreted at the spot near the railroad station where Mr. Harris had observed and overheard the two figures.

In determining whether the evidence produced is sufficient to support a conviction, the test to be applied is whether, accepting as true all evidence and all reasonable inferences therefrom on which if believed the factfinder could have based its verdict, it is sufficient in law to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the crime charged. Commonwealth v. Richbourg, 260 Pa. Super. 438, 394 A.2d 1007 (1978); Commonwealth v. Deeters, 255 Pa. Super. 343, 386 A.2d 1034 (1978). Moreover, these reasonable inferences must be predicated on proven facts and circumstances, not solely on suspicion or surmise. Commonwealth v. Frey, 264 Pa. Super. 212, 399 A.2d 742 (1979); Commonwealth v. Roach, 260 Pa. Super. 261, 393 A.2d 1253 (1978). Instantly, this standard has been satisfied.

Appellants focus their sufficiency attack primarily on the burglary conviction, and we will consequently do likewise. Burglary is defined in the Crimes Code as follows:

"A person is guilty of burglary if he enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, with intent to commit a crime therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter." 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 3502(a).

At trial, appellants admitted that they entered the building without permission or privilege at a time when it was not open to the public. ...


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