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Name: In re H.W.
Case #: C079926
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/25/2016

Minor illegally possessed burglar’s tools where he entered a store with a pair of pliers that he used to remove an antitheft device from a pair of jeans. A delinquency petition (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 602) alleging theft (Pen. Code, § 484, subd. (a)) and possession of burglar’s tools (Pen. Code, § 466), was sustained against the minor. On appeal, the minor alleged there was insufficient evidence to sustain the finding he possessed burglar’s tools. Held: Affirmed. Section 466 prohibits the possession of certain enumerated tools or “other instrument or tool with intent feloniously to break or enter into any building.” The prosecution must establish three elements: (1) possession by the defendant; (2) of tools within the purview of the statute; (3) with the requisite criminal intent. The minor claimed the pliers he possessed and used to remove an antitheft device from a pair jeans that he subsequently took from the store do not fall within the meaning of “other instrument or tool” because they are not similar to the items enumerated in the statute and there was no evidence they could be used to break into a building. However, the plain meaning of “other instrument or tool” in section 466, and the one that effectuates the legislative purpose to deter burglaries, includes tools that the evidence shows are possessed with the intent to be used for burglary. The minor used the pliers to facilitate a theft, i.e., he possessed them with a design to use the pliers for a burglarious purpose. The pliers constituted an “other instrument or tool” within the meaning of the statute. The court disagreed with People v. Gordon (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 1409 and People v. Diaz (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 396.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: