No. 435 April Term 1979 Appeal from the Judgments of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County at No. 436 of 1978 and No. 457 of 1978.
John R. Hoye, Jr., Connellsville, for appellant.
Gerald R. Solomon, District Attorney, Uniontown, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Spaeth, Hoffman and Van der Voort, JJ.
[ 278 Pa. Super. Page 257]
This is an appeal from judgments of sentence for crimes arising from two unrelated episodes. In No. 436 appellant was charged with burglary, theft by receiving stolen property, and criminal conspiracy. These charges arose from the burglary of Grant's Cycle Shop on May 25, 1978. A jury convicted appellant of all charges, and after post-verdict motions were denied, he was sentenced to two and one-half to five years in prison. In No. 457 appellant was charged with burglary, theft by unlawful taking, and theft by receiving stolen property. These charges arose from the burglary of a private residence on June 17, 1978. A jury acquitted appellant of theft by receiving stolen property but convicted him of burglary and theft by unlawful taking. After post-verdict motions were denied, appellant was sentenced to two and one-half to five years in prison, this sentence to be concurrent with the sentence imposed at No. 436.
Appellant's only argument on this appeal is that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions. In reviewing a claim with respect to the sufficiency of the evidence, "we first accept as true all the evidence upon which the finder of fact could properly have reached its verdict, and then, after giving the Commonwealth the benefit of all reasonable inferences arising from that evidence, we ask whether the evidence and the inferences arising from it are sufficient in law to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crimes of which he has been convicted." Commonwealth v. Steward, 263 Pa. Super. 191, 199, 397 A.2d 812, 815-16 (1979); see Commonwealth v. Holmes, 482 Pa. 97, 393 A.2d 397 (1978); Commonwealth v. Madison, 263 Pa. Super. 206, 397 A.2d 818 (1979). The evidence was as follows:
At approximately 1:30 a. m. on May 25, 1978, Michael Grant, the proprietor of Grant's Cycle Shop, received word
[ 278 Pa. Super. Page 258]
that someone was running motorcycles outside of the shop. Mr. Grant, who lived across the street from the shop, ran outside and discovered two men riding motorcycles away from the shop. He went inside the shop and discovered that it had been broken into and that two motorcycles, two jerseys, two helmets, two pairs of gloves, and approximately $50 in cash had been stolen. Most of the cash was in bills but some was in coin rolls that had the name of the shop stamped on them.
Police officers Richard Veil and James Stephens arrived at the shop at approximately 1:50 a. m. and conducted a preliminary investigation. Mr. Grant was unable to identify or describe the burglars but gave full information concerning the missing motorcycles. After they had finished interviewing Mr. Grant, the officers left to investigate another call. At approximately 2:45 a. m. they were on patrol when they heard motorcycles being ridden in an area approximately three miles from Mr. Grant's shop. Officer Veil got out of the patrol car to investigate and discovered appellant and another man riding motorcycles that fit the description of those that had been stolen. He succeeded in capturing and arresting appellant, but the other man escaped on the other motorcycle. The serial number of the motorcycle ridden by appellant matched one of those that had been stolen. Appellant was also carrying some rolls of coins that had the name of Mr. Grant's shop stamped on them.
Appellant denied any involvement in the burglary, testifying as follows. Just before 3:00 a. m., when he was home asleep, two acquaintances, Tim Sims and Jim Kelly, came to his trailer and asked to buy some gasoline. He got dressed and siphoned some gasoline from his father's truck and gave it to Sims and Kelly. They paid him for the gasoline with some rolls of coins, and put some of it into their truck and the rest into two motorcycles that were in the back of the truck. They asked appellant if he wanted to ride one of the motorcycles, and he and Sims each took one for a ride. It was during ...