Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, of Philadelphia County, No. S-3244-87-5. Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, of Philadelphia County, No. S-3243-87-5.
William F. Coyle, Philadelphia, for appellants.
Wieand, McEwen and Beck, JJ.
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Linda Hawthorne and Pauline Giorgi, both minors, were adjudicated delinquent and were placed on non-reporting probation following a finding that they had committed the crime of theft by unlawful taking in violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 3921.*fn1 On appeal from the juvenile court's dispositional order, Hawthorne and Giorgi contend that the evidence showed nothing more than that they had been present at the scene of the crime. This, they argue, was insufficient to establish that they had participated in the commission of a theft. We agree and, therefore, reverse the order of the juvenile court.
In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we view all evidence received at the hearing, as well as all reasonable inferences therefrom, in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth. We then determine whether "the trier of fact could have found that each element of the offense charged was supported by evidence and inferences sufficient in law to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Commonwealth v. Jackson, 506 Pa. 469, 472-473, 485 A.2d 1102, 1103 (1984). See: In the Interest of LaMore, 356 Pa. Super. 322, 514 A.2d 633 (1986). See also: Commonwealth v. Stark, 363 Pa. Super. 356, 526 A.2d 383 (1987); Commonwealth v. Quarles, 361 Pa. Super. 272, 522 A.2d 579 (1987).
The Commonwealth's evidence was stated by the juvenile court as follows:
At approximately 8:25 p.m. on Sunday, May 3, 1987, Officer Scott Drissel responded to a radio call to proceed to the 3300 block of Grant Avenue, Philadelphia, where a Pep Boys auto appliance store is located. Officer Drissel proceeded to the rear of the store and saw a tractor-trailer
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parked up against a loading platform. One white male, holding a box, was on the platform and the female co-defendants, Linda Hawthorne and Pauline Giorgi, were standing beside him. When the male looked in the direction of Officer Drissel and his partner as they drove up in a marked police wagon, he dropped the box off the platform. The defendants who had been standing next to him disappeared from the view of Officer Drissel behind the trailer. While Officer Drissel's partner arrested the male, Officer Drissel proceeded to the back of the platform on the other side of the trailer where he observed the defendants coming down the platform steps. The defendants were apprehended by Officer Drissel and other policemen who arrived on the scene.
Officer Drissel testified that the box which the young male had dropped contained chrome wire-wheel covers. The defendants were not observed by Officer Drissel with anything in their hands. Officer Drissel testified that in addition to the boxes of auto parts lying about the platform, there were also numerous cases behind the wall adjoining the platform. He estimated that from the tractor-trailer there were approximately eight (8) cases on the platform outside the trailer and four (4) or five (5) on the ground below. Officer Drissel testified that the lock and seal on the trailer door had been forced open and that the door had been raised to approximately eight (8) feet. Officer Drissel described the loading platform to be approximately six (6) feet off the ground and located twenty-five (25) feet from the sidewalk. He also testified that a set of approximately six (6) or seven (7) steps must be taken in order to get to the top of the platform.
The store manager testified that when he last checked his store, Saturday, May 2, 1987, around 6:00 p.m., everything was secure, including the lock and seal on the tractor-trailer door. The manager also testified that ...