No. 1121 APRIL TERM, 1979, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of November 29, 1979, In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division at No. 7901955A.
Claudia Creo Sharon, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Robert L. Eberhardt, Deputy District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Hester, Beck and Van der Voort, JJ.
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Appellant, Charles Allen Davis, was convicted of robbery by a judge sitting non-jury. He filed timely post-trial motions and was sentenced to a period of incarceration of from two to six years.
Appellant's first claim is that the lower court erred in finding that the Commonwealth had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant was guilty of robbery. The test for evaluating that claim was recently reiterated by our Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Lovette, 498 Pa. 665, 669, 450 A.2d 975, 977 (1982) (collecting cases): "[W]hether accepting as true all of the evidence reviewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, together with all reasonable inferences therefrom, the trier of fact could have found that each element of the offenses charged was supported by evidence and inferences sufficient in law to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." We proceed to review the evidence in that light.
Thomas Edward Martin was working the 12:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. shift on March 9, 1977 at one of the William Penn Pipe Shops in Pittsburgh. At approximately 3:00 a.m., a young black man approached the window of that shop through which business was transacted and requested a grape soda. That window is approximately 30 inches above ground level. Martin went to the rear of the shop to find the soda and upon turning to bring that item to the customer, he observed a second man entering through the window and moving toward the cash register. That second man told Martin to "get back" and he removed the money from the cash register. He then asked Martin where the rest of the money was located, to which Martin replied there was no more money in the shop. The perpetrator then opened a
[ 313 Pa. Super. Page 358]
drawer which contained a cigar box, and Martin told him that box contained some money from that evening's sales. The perpetrator removed the money and fled through the door which was locked to those on the outside. The entire episode lasted approximately twenty seconds during which time the victim had an opportunity to view clearly the perpetrator's face in a well-lit shop. In answer to a question on direct examination, Martin stated that he did not attempt to thwart the perpetrator because of his concern for his safety. He stated: "It is my generally developed policy when I am being robbed to let them take all the cash, rather than subject myself to possible injury." Notes of Testimony ("N.T.") 6/11/79 at 22. Martin testified that he had been robbed previously.
John Joyce, an employee of Bell of Pennsylvania who was working the 12:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. shift across the street from the William Penn Pipe Shop, testified that at approximately 3:00 a.m. he observed two men get out of a Volkswagen and approach the pipe shop. He saw one of them beginning to enter through the window opening. That man's feet were off the ground. Joyce described the car as a dark blue Volkswagen beetle missing a headlight. He called the police and supplied this information.
William L. Stoehr, also of Bell Telephone, testified to substantially the same facts, although he testified that he observed one of them actually enter through the window opening.
Based upon information provided by Mr. Joyce and by the victim, descriptions of the two men and the automobile were broadcast over police radio. The descriptions of the perpetrators were of a tall, thin, brown-skinned black man and a shorter, medium built, darker black man. The car was described as a dark blue or black Volkswagen missing one headlight.
Officer McIntyre of the Pittsburgh Police Department and his partner observed a Volkswagen with only one headlight. Because it matched the description they had heard ...