FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH DIVISION [NOS.
60CR-10-4191 AND 60CR-17-2699], HONORABLE HERBERT WRIGHT,
R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller, Deputy
Public Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Brad Newman, Asst Atty Gen., for
D. VAUGHT, Judge
appellant, LaQueena Cox, appeals her conviction by a Pulaski
County Circuit Court of theft of property, a Class A
misdemeanor, and the revocation of her probation for
committing the new offense. We affirm both the
conviction and the revocation.
August 3, 2017, while on probation, Cox was charged with
theft of property, a Class C felony, pursuant to Arkansas
Code Annotated section 5-36-103(b)(3)(A) (Repl. 2013). The
State alleged that she had exercised unauthorized control
over currency with a value of less than $ 5,000 but more than
$ 1,000. The circuit court held a bench trial on February 26,
2018, and the State put on evidence that Cox worked as the
manager of the Parkway Crossing apartment complex in North
Little Rock, where her duties included collecting, recording,
and depositing rent payments. Valecia Walker, co-owner of the
complex, testified that Cox was a tenant who had fallen
behind on her rent and that Walker had offered assistance by
providing a job as the assistant manager of the complex. Cox
later became manager. Stephanie Raney, another employee,
testified that she noticed people coming in to pay rent who
were not listed in the office software as tenants and who
were paying for apartments listed in the complexs records as
Marshall, who co-owns the complex with Walker, testified that
the complex used QuickBooks Pro and AppFolio software to
track and manage rental payments. Marshall testified that in
April 2017, Raney told him that people were coming to the
complexs office to pay for apartments listed as
"vacant" in the management software. According to
employees were required to record rental payments in both
software programs. When a payment was recorded, the AppFolio
software program would generate a receipt for the tenant.
Marshall testified that he knew Cox was stealing money from
the business when he learned that a tenant had a handwritten
receipt from Cox for a cash payment and that there was no
record of the payment in the management software. Marshall
testified that employees were not allowed to accept cash
payments or issue handwritten receipts.
Hernandez testified that Cox accepted Hernandezs application
for an apartment and issued her a receipt for a $ 460 payment
that she made on February 17, 2017. Hernandez testified that
$ 300 of that payment was in cash, and the remainder was paid
by money order. Hernandez identified Cox as the person who
had accepted that payment. The payment was not recorded in
the businesss management software. There was no record that
it had been deposited with the bank.
court sustained Coxs objection to the admission of several
other handwritten receipts for cash payments because those
documents could not be authenticated without the testimony of
the persons named on the receipts. Other than Hernandez, none
of the other residents to whom Cox had issued handwritten
receipts could be located for trial. The State rested, and
Cox moved to dismiss, arguing that the State had proved only
that she had failed to record Hernandezs payment in the
management software, not that she had stolen the money. The
State argued that its evidence demonstrated that Cox was not
allowed to either take cash payments or issue handwritten
receipts but had done both, had not recorded or deposited the
cash, and could not accounted for the cash. The court denied
the motion. The defense rested and renewed its motion, which
the court again denied. The court found Cox guilty of
misdemeanor theft. Cox stipulated that the conviction
amounted to a violation of her probation, and the court
revoked her probation. This timely appeal followed.
appeal, Cox challenges the sufficiency of the evidence
supporting both her conviction for theft of property and the
subsequent revocation of her probation based on the
commission of that new offense. See Walker v.
State, 77 Ark.App. 122, 124, 72 S.W.3d 517, 519 (2002)
(a motion to dismiss for lack of evidence in a bench trial is
a challenge to the sufficiency of the States proof). Our
test for determining the sufficiency of the evidence is
whether the verdict is supported by substantial evidence,
direct or circumstantial. Jones v. State, 357 Ark.
545, 182 S.W.3d 485 (2004). Evidence is substantial if it is
of sufficient force and character to compel reasonable minds
to reach a conclusion and pass beyond suspicion and
conjecture. Wells v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 174, at 2,
518 S.W.3d 106, 108-09 (citing Haynes v. State, 346
Ark. 388, 58 S.W.3d 336 (2001)). On appeal, we view the
evidence in the light most favorable to the State,
considering only that evidence that supports the verdict.
Id. at 2, 518 S.W.3d at 108-09 (citing Williams
v. State, 346 Ark. 304, 57 S.W.3d 706 (2001)).
raises one argument on appeal: she claims that the State
presented insufficient evidence to support the conviction and
the revocation because it failed to prove that she had the
opportunity to steal the missing money and that no other
employee had such an opportunity. Cox failed to ...