This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).







In the Matter of the Welfare of: 

M.G.A., Child.



Filed May 15, 2001

Foley, Judge


Anoka County District Court

File No. J00051126



Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN  55103; and


Robert M.A. Johnson, Anoka County Attorney, Marcy S. Crain, Assistant County Attorney, Anoka County Government Ctr., 2100 Third Ave., 7th Floor, Anoka, MN  55303 (for respondent Anoka County)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Charlann E. Winking, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414-3230 (for appellant M.G.A.)


Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Hanson, Judge, and Foley, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

FOLEY, Judge

            In this appeal from adjudication of delinquency for criminal damage to property, appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to prove that damage to the house was more than $500.  Because the record is sufficient to support the adjudication, we affirm.


            In September 1999, Rene Popejoy replaced the chimney for the wood-burning stove that heats his one-bedroom house.  During the fall of 1999, vandals damaged his chimney three times; Popejoy reported two of these incidents to the police.  After the third incident, Popejoy contacted his insurance company, but an insurance investigator told him that the cost to repair the chimney would be less than his $250 deductible.  Popejoy made the repairs himself.

            On December 28, 1999, Popejoy heard noise on his roof and saw the ventilation pipe shake and then disconnect from the stove.  He immediately contacted the police.  After the noise from the roof stopped, Popejoy went out to investigate and found part of the chimney severely dented and its cap torn off and lying in his backyard.  The aluminum flashing that holds the chimney in place was also damaged.  Because the damage was so extensive, Popejoy could not use his stove properly without replacing the chimney.

            Ramsey Police Sergeant Robert Kuhn and Officer Brad Paplham arrived at Popejoy’s residence within 20 minutes of his phone call.  Officer Paplham followed footprints in the snow from Popejoy’s home to the home of appellant M.G.A..  Appellant’s mother informed the officer that appellant was staying at another friend’s house.  Officer Paplham located appellant with two other boys.  Appellant and another boy, A.S., admitted that they had been on the roof and damaged the chimney while a third boy watched. 

            On May 2, 2000, a hearing was held at which Popejoy, Kuhn, Paplham, and A.S. testified.  Popejoy testified that he contacted between 30 to 40 contractors to obtain an estimate on the cost of repairs to the chimney.  Only two contractors arranged to make bids:  one never showed up, and the other offered an estimate of $4,000, which Popejoy dismissed as “ridiculous.”  Popejoy testified that after two months of searching, he finally contracted with a roofer to re-shingle the roof and repair the chimney if Popejoy provided replacement parts.  Popejoy stated that he paid $341.28 for the parts and $500 for labor. A.S. testified that the chimney was already bent when he and appellant were hitting it and that the two had no intention of destroying it.  He also testified that appellant continued to hit the chimney after A.S. had jumped off the roof.

            On June 19, 2000, appellant was found guilty of criminal property damage in the first degree.  See Minn. Stat. § 609.595 (1998).  The court placed appellant on probation and required him to make restitution and to perform 30 hours of community service.


            Appellant argues that there is insufficient evidence to support his adjudication.  Under Minnesota law,

[w]hoever intentionally causes damage to physical property of another * * * may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both, if:


            * * * *


the damage reduces the value of the property by more than $500 measured by the cost of repair and replacement * * *.


Minn. Stat. § 609.595, subd. 1 (1998).  Appellant contends that the state failed to meet its burden because some of the damage to the chimney should be attributed to the prior incidents of vandalism.  He believes that he is being unfairly punished because “Popejoy had simply not bothered to spend the money to replace or repair [the chimney] after the two other incidents [reported to the police].” 

            In reviewing a sufficiency-of-the-evidence claim in a juvenile adjudication,

this court must evaluate the record and the legitimate inferences from [that] record in the light most favorable to the conviction to determine whether the fact-finder could have reasonably concluded that the defendant was guilty of the charged offense. 

In re Welfare of S.A.M., 570 N.W.2d 162, 167 (Minn. App. 1997). 

            Here, there is sufficient evidence to support the court’s finding that appellant caused more than  $500 in damage to Popejoy’s property.  The court found that any damage caused to the chimney prior to the December 28 incident was no more than $250.  This finding is supported by Popejoy’s testimony regarding an insurance investigator’s estimate.  Because Popejoy’s costs for repairing all the damage to the chimney amounted to $841.28, at least $591 can be attributed to damage caused by appellant.  This satisfies the statutory requirement, and, therefore, the court did not err in finding appellant was guilty of criminal property damage in the first degree.



* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.