Articles Posted in Burglary

Published on:

A man walked down the narrow street. He saw a house being remodeled. There was no furniture in the house but there was obviously work being done on it. A “porta potty” was outside the house for the workmen to use. Lots of tools were in the garage; portable belt sander, air compressor, and a nail gun along with other items that could easily be sold. Temptation got the better of him. The man walked into the vacant house through an open unlocked door, where there were no plates, dishes, furniture, or anything else that would look like the house was inhabited.

The man stole the tools with the intent to sell them. While he was in the house the workmen came back and chased him away. Unfortunately for him he was arrested nearby still in possession of the stolen property. He was charged with burglary of an inhabited house and the enhancement that someone was home when the burglary occurred.

How could an obviously uninhabited house qualify as an inhabited dwelling house and just because the workmen come back why is the burglary all of a sudden a violent felony?

Published on:

Defendant was charged with residential burglary. The young man was Hispanic and was known to associate with gang members. He denied being a gang member himself but the police were constantly stopping him and conducting interviews in “consensual encounters”. He wasn’t consenting to being stopped by the police but unless he walked away that’s how the law looks at it.

When the burglary happened in his neighborhood, the police immediately suspected him even though they didn’t have any reasonable basis for their “hunch”. When the burglary occurred, the homeowner was home and frightened the burglar away. The police showed the homeowner two photos of the Defendant one at a time even though after each she could not say he was the one who had committed the burglary. A short time later the police returned with a photo line-up of six photos, only one of which had been shown to the homeowner before. Of course that would be the Defendant’s photo, and lo and behold, she identified him as the perpetrator.

Defendant was arrested three weeks after the burglary and questioned. He gave three different possibilities about where he was the night of the burglary changing his story each time.

Published on:

Residential burglary occurs when someone enters the residence of another with the intent to steal or commit a felony inside the home. The “normal” burglary is one where the burglar enters the home by forcing some kind of entry. Entry into the home through a window or forcing a door open are both entries which establish, almost by common sense, the intent to commit a theft or some kind of a felony inside the house. These are “serious” crimes and are punishable under the “Three Strikes Law” as such. But, what happens when someone is home when the burglary happens?

Recently, a case came up where entry was made through a bedroom window. Once inside the burglar was in the process of stealing silverware from the kitchen when he decided maybe there were more valuable items to be found in the bedroom. When the burglar went into the bedroom he was shocked to find that a woman was in bed sleeping. He immediately left the home and was so shocked he didn’t even take the stolen loot with him. Does the fact that he didn’t know anyone was home make a difference? Add the fact that he left immediately and didn’t take anything with him and maybe the burglary didn’t even occur. Well, unfortunately for the burglar, the fact that he didn’t know someone was home and that he didn’t get any stolen property doesn’t make any difference at all.

The crime of burglary is established as soon as the burglar enters the home with the intent to steal. Even if he just walked in the front door, if he entered with the intent to steal, it’s a burglary. The big problem for the burglar who enters when someone is home, is that by definition it is a “violent” crime under the “Three Strikes Law”. When it comes to sentencing, the burglar must, except in unusual circumstances, go to State Prison. In addition, if he does go to State Prison he must serve 85% of whatever sentence he receives.