State v. Waterhouse

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 10-15-2014
  • Case #: A153037
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Before Armstrong, P.J. and Nakamoto, J., & Egan, J,

Evidence that a stolen item has some market is sufficient to prove the value element of theft in the third-degree, even if that value is speculative.

Defendant was arrested and charged with third-degree theft after he entered a commercial property at around 3:00am and took several metal items from a recycling drop box. At trial, Defendant filed a motion for judgment of acquittal in which Defendant argued that the state had failed to adduce sufficient evidence that the stolen items had value. Defendant argued that, although ORS 164.115(5) presumes stolen items without an immediately ascertainable value are under $50.00, the stolen items in this case had no value at all because the market for the scrap metal was only speculative. The trial court denied defendant’s motion and convicted defendant of third-degree theft. Defendant appealed, and argued that the trial court erred when it denied his motion. The Court affirmed the trial court’s decision, reasoning that although the contents of the recycling drop box did not have an immediately ascertainable value, the testimony of the victim’s employee and the regular business between victim and a recycling company demonstrated a market sufficient to presume value to support a third-degree theft conviction. Affirmed.

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