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Name: People v. Mireles
Case #: B276786
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/12/2018

For purposes of robbery conviction, defendant committed theft by larceny, not theft by false pretenses, where he put a cheaper price tag on merchandise, paid the cheaper price at self-checkout, then resisted arrest by store security. Home Depot store security agents saw defendant place a $4.47 price tag on a $39.98 item, then go through self check-out. When the agents tried to stop defendant, he forcefully resisted them. He was convicted of second degree robbery (Pen. Code, § 212.5, subd. (c)). On appeal, defendant argued his theft was by false pretenses and thus the “felonious taking” element of robbery was missing. Held: Affirmed. A person commits theft by larceny when he takes possession of personal property owned/possessed by another by means of trespass, and carries it away. In contrast, theft by false pretenses involves the consensual transfer of possession as well as title to the property, based on a false representation to the property’s owner, with the intent to defraud the owner, so is not committed by trespass. Here, defendant picked up the merchandise with the intent to steal it, then replaced the UPC tag with a less expensive one and scanned the item. While Home Depot may have consented to customers handling goods for sale, this does not extend to handling them with the intent to steal. (See People v. Davis (1998) 19 Cal.4th 301, 306.) In addition, Home Depot did not consent to sell the merchandise for far less than its listed price. Thus, defendant committed a nonconsensual felonious taking when he took the product and was properly convicted of robbery based on this taking because he resisted attempts by store agents to reclaim the property. The court distinguished People v. Williams (2013) 57 Cal.4th 776. [Editor’s Note: Justice Chaney filed a concurrence and dissent, arguing the robbery conviction should be reversed under the reasoning of Williams.]

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