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Piper v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

September 17, 2014

JAMES T. PIPER, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE DREW COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CR-12-94-1. HONORABLE SAM POPE, JUDGE.

Potts Law Office, by: Gary W. Potts, for appellant.

Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Brad Newman, Ass't Att'y Gen., and Drew Aylesworth, Law Student Admitted to Practice Pursuant to Rule XV of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of the Supreme Court under the supervision of Darnisa Evans Johnson, Deputy Att'y Gen., for appellee.

WALMSLEY and VAUGHT, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 18

DAVID M. GLOVER, Judge.

James Piper was convicted by a Drew County jury of the offenses of breaking or entering, theft of property, and theft by receiving. Piper was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for each conviction, with the sentences to be served consecutively. He now appeals only his breaking-or-entering conviction, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict on that count due to the insufficiency of the evidence.[1] We affirm.

During the evening on July 20, 2012, Elizabeth Efird's purse was taken out of her unlocked car in her carport. The next morning she noticed that her purse was missing around 10 a.m. and reported her loss to the police. Mrs. Efird's purse contained cash, credit cards, and a debit card, along with identification, her social security card, and other personal items. Mrs. Efird testified that there was no damage to her vehicle, and she did not see whoever took her purse.

Her husband, Michael Efird, testified that he was able to obtain from a local bank the video from the ATM (there had been an attempt to use Mrs. Efird's ATM card); and that when he called his credit-card company, he learned that one of her credit cards had been used at Wal-Mart. He also learned that a credit card had been used at Fred's. Mr. Efird said that he did not see anyone trying to enter his wife's vehicle, and there was no damage done to it.

David Crutchfield, a Monticello police officer, responded to the call regarding Mrs. Efird's missing purse. He testified that he saw some footprints going north from the Efirds' residence to Oakland Street. Officer Crutchfield did not find any other evidence at the residence, and he did not check for fingerprints.

Greg Johnson, a criminal investigator for the Monticello Police Department, interviewed Piper. He testified that Piper admitted attempting to use Mrs. Efird's ATM card at a bank located about one block from where Piper lived, which was only a few blocks from the Efirds' residence. Officer Johnson stated that he did not remember Piper telling him that he used one of Mrs. Efird's credit cards at Wal-Mart (that in fact Piper had told him that he did not use a credit card at Wal-Mart), but that there was video footage showing Piper using it at Wal-Mart.

During his recorded interview, when asked how he got the purse, Piper said that he found the purse lying in the trash dumpster behind his house around 6:00 a.m. on July 21; he rummaged through it and found forty dollars in cash and a couple of credit cards. Piper stated that he

Page 19

threw the credit cards away; however, he also said that he used a card at Fred's to get a pair of shoes that he later returned. He admitted that he attempted to use the ATM at Commercial Bank across the street from his house, but that he could not get it to work. Piper further said ...


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