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Name: People v. Philpot
Case #: E034238
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/27/2004
Subsequent History: 10/27/04 rhg. den.; 12/1/04 revw. den.

Appellant was found guilty of two counts of auto theft for stealing a pickup truck with an attached utility trailer, which contained about $5000 worth of landscaping equipment. On appeal, he argued that his conviction for the second count had to be reversed because the theft of an automobile with a trailer supports only one conviction for vehicle theft. The appellate court disagreed and affirmed. Vehicle Code section 10851 proscribes the taking of a vehicle, not a motor vehicle. Because a trailer qualifies as a vehicle under the code, appellant was properly convicted of two counts. The appellate court called it a “close call” but found that an analysis of statutory construction supported that position. Nor did the trial court abuse its discretion when it failed to strike appellant’s prior convictions. The record shows that the court was aware of its discretion and the case was “far from extraordinary.”