NO. 1226 PHILADELPHIA, 1981, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal, of Philadelphia County, at Nos. 1456-57 & 58 September 1980
Catherine M. Harper, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Michael Clarke, Assistant District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Rowley, Hoffman and Van der Voort, JJ.
[ 310 Pa. Super. Page 333]
Appellant was convicted on December 3, 1980, of receiving stolen property, unauthorized use of an automobile (18 Pa.C.S. §§ 3925, 3928), and possession of a controlled substance (35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(16). He was sentenced to concurrent terms of imprisonment of from one to three years on the charges of receiving stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. Sentence was suspended on the charge of unauthorized use of an automobile.
[ 310 Pa. Super. Page 334]
Appellant appeals the judgment of sentence on all three counts, contending that the evidence of the Commonwealth was not sufficient to establish his guilt, and that business records were improperly admitted to establish ownership of the stolen vehicle.
Two police officers and an official of the Hertz Corporation testified for the Commonwealth. The first officer testified that on July 12, 1980, he attempted to stop a vehicle, driven by Appellant, in the area of 33rd Street and Columbia Avenue, Philadelphia. When the police vehicle put on its siren and overhead lights, the vehicle driven by Appellant turned onto a side street and accelerated. The police gave chase. After approximately one mile, the vehicle stopped, Appellant jumped out and fled on foot. The officer chased Appellant for two blocks before he caught him. Appellant, at the time of his arrest, dropped a set of keys suitable for operating General Motors and Ford cars.
The second officer testified that he responded to a radio call for help from the other officer and, within a minute or two of the call, reached the vehicle which Appellant had abandoned and guarded it until the first officer returned. When he arrived, he found the front door open on the driver's side of the car and the engine running. He turned off the engine and, in the process, observed on the driver's seat a cellophane cigarette packet containing what has been stipulated to be four packets of methamphetamine and one packet of cocaine and reducing sugar, controlled substances (schedule 2 of 35 P.S. § 780-104). The package was uncrushed, as it would have been had it been sat upon by Appellant while driving the car.
The prosecution also presented the testimony of an Assistant Custodian of Records of the Hertz Corporation, who identified corporate records as ones kept in the ordinary course of business, which established that the vehicle was owned by the Hertz Corporation and had been leased on July 5, 1980, to one Steven Heppner, at the Newark Airport. The expiration date of the lease was July 9, 1980, three days prior to Appellant's arrest. The witness also identified
[ 310 Pa. Super. Page 335]
records showing that the car had been leased on the credit of an American Express card, which was subsequently reported on July 6 to have been stolen. The witness had not personally prepared any of the records nor was he personally acquainted with the officials who had prepared them or had them in ...