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Name: People v. Williams
Case #: B222845
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 07/11/2011
Subsequent History: 10/12/11 rev. granted (S195187)

A theft by false pretenses supports a charge of robbery when force is used to flee. Williams purchased a $200 gift card at Walmart under false pretenses. When a theft prevention officer questioned him, he shoved the officer and tried to run. He was wrestled to the ground, but he said he was reaching for a gun. The evidence supported an “Estes robbery.” (People v. Estes (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 23.) Theft by false pretenses involves fraud or deceit in obtaining both possession and ownership of property. The delivery of ownership is not a distinguishing factor because taking the property of another, by whatever means, is trespassory. There is no public policy justification for treating theft by false pretenses differently from other forms of theft. It converts to a robbery when there is a confrontation while they are still within each other’s presence after the perpetrator has gained the property and he uses force or fear against the prior owner who is trying to regain the property.