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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GEORGE VUKOVICH (06/18/82)

filed: June 18, 1982.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
GEORGE VUKOVICH, APPELLANT



No. 1150 April Term, 1978, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Mercer County, No. 686/1977.

COUNSEL

T. Bowner, Assistant Public Defender, Mercer, for appellant.

Frances S. Palmer, Assistant District Attorney, Sharon, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cercone, President Judge, and Wieand and Hoffman, JJ. Cercone, President Judge, concurs in the result.

Author: Wieand

[ 301 Pa. Super. Page 113]

George Vukovich was tried jointly with his brother, John, and was convicted of forgery,*fn1 conspiracy to commit forgery,*fn2 and conspiracy to use a forged prescription in violation of Section 8 of the Pharmacy Act of September 27, 1961, P.L. 1700, 63 P.S. ยง 390-8.*fn3 Post-trial motions were denied, and sentences of imprisonment were imposed for forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery. On the conviction for conspiracy to violate the Pharmacy Act, sentence was suspended. This appeal followed.

[ 301 Pa. Super. Page 114]

The Commonwealth's evidence, as recited in the trial court's opinion, disclosed the following: "On November 5, 1977, in a Thrift Drug Store in the City of Sharon, Pennsylvania, John Vukovich presented a written prescription, purportedly from Dr. Wieneke for Percodan, in the name of George Wilcox . . . . This was a fictitious name. The doctor testified at trial that none of the writing on the prescription blank was his and that the prescription was a forgery . . . . Commonwealth witnesses testified that both John Vukovich and George Vukovich were present in the drugstore at the time in question and that the prescription was presented to the pharmacist's clerk by John Vukovich.

"By circumstance, Robert K. Torrence, a police officer of the City of Sharon, presently assigned to the Mercer County Narcotics Unit, came to Thrift Drug shortly before the attempt to pass the forged prescription. He informed a store employee that he would be next door in the event that anything occurred . . . [having been] assigned to assist the drugstores in their efforts to prevent the filling of forged prescriptions. After the drugstore personnel became suspicious of the prescription passed by John Vukovich, the pharmacist had one of the employees go to the sporting goods store next door and request Officer Torrence to come to the pharmacy immediately.

"John Vukovich apparently became suspicious of the delay and proceeded out of the store without waiting for his prescription to be filled. He met Officer Torrence, who knew him, just outside the door of the drugstore . . . .

"When the officer then entered the drugstore, George Vukovich arose from where he was seated and started out. Torrence stopped him initially but was informed by the druggist that he had the wrong man. At that point the druggist was not aware of the relationship of the two defendants."

George Vukovich, the appellant herein, was subsequently arrested and charged by the District Attorney of Mercer County with forgery in that he "did attempt to procure Percodan, ...


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