may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Daniel Charles Stevens,
Filed August 12, 1997
Chippewa County District Court
File No. K495471
David M. Gilbertson, Chippewa County Attorney, 221 North First, Montevideo, MN 56265 (for Respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Cathryn Middlebrook, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for Appellant)
Considered and decided by Crippen, Presiding Judge, Huspeni, Judge, and Willis, Judge.
Appellant Daniel Stevens challenges his convictions for possession of stolen property and for submitting false information in his application for a certificate of title for a boat. We affirm.
In February 1995, Stevens sent the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) an application for a certificate of title for a 1991 Warrior boat with an invoice purporting to be for his purchase of the boat. The MDNR asked Stevens for a pencil tracing of the boat's hull identification number, which identifies the model year and manufacturer. A hull identification number is found on a metal plate on the back of all boats and also is concealed inside the hull. Although the pencil tracing Stevens sent the MDNR was a hull number that belonged neither to a Warrior boat nor to a 1991 model, the MDNR issued Stevens a certificate of title.
On August 8, 1995, Root saw what he thought was his stolen trailer and boat, without the motor, for sale by the side of the highway in Montevideo. Root noted that the boat in Montevideo had a decal imprint matching the decals he puts on boats he sells and that the boat had holes in it consistent with custom equipment that he had installed on the stolen boat. The metal plate with the hull number had been pried off the back of the boat, but Root copied down the Minnesota registration number on a decal on the boat. Root stopped Sergeant Johnson of the Montevideo Police Department, told him about the boat, and they went together to the boat's location by the side of the highway.
Sergeant Johnson ran a check on the boat's Minnesota registration number and discovered that the boat was registered to Stevens. From his squad car, Sergeant Johnson telephoned the number listed on the for-sale sign. Stevens answered and told Sergeant Johnson that he was asking $4,000 for the boat and trailer. After the telephone call, Root showed Sergeant Johnson distinguishing features of the boat and explained why he believed it belonged to him. Root read to Sergeant Johnson the hull identification number from inside the boat while Sergeant Johnson wrote it down. The hull number differed from the number under which the boat was registered.
From the sheriff's office Sergeant Johnson contacted South Dakota authorities and confirmed that the boat in Montevideo had the same hull identification number as Root's stolen boat. Johnson returned to impound the boat and trailer, but they were gone.
On August 11, 1995, Sheriff Carlson of Lac Qui Parle County visited Stevens at his home in Boyd and asked him if he had a boat for sale. Stevens said that he had a boat for sale in Montevideo that he had bought in South Dakota for $2,300. Although Sheriff Carlson told Stevens that the boat was no longer there, Stevens did not file a stolen boat report, and the boat and trailer have not been found. The police obtained a warrant to search Stevens's home, where they found a copy of his boat title application, the boat's registration, and invoices purporting to reflect Stevens's purchase of a 1991 Warrior boat and a kit for assembling a 20-foot trailer.
A complaint was filed in Chippewa County charging Stevens with possession of stolen property worth more than $2,500 and submission of false information in an application for a certificate of title. At the close of the state's case, the district court determined as a matter of law that there was insufficient evidence that the trailer found in Chippewa County was stolen from Root, so the jury was required to determine whether the boat alone was stolen property worth more than $2,500. The jury found Stevens guilty of both counts. The district court stayed imposition of sentencing and placed Stevens on supervised probation.
Stevens challenges his conviction for possession of stolen property under Minn. Stat. § 609.52, subd. 3(2) (1996), and Minn. Stat. § 609.53 (1996), arguing that there was insufficient evidence that the value of the boat in his possession exceeded $2,500. In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, this court's review is
limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in a light most favorable to the conviction, was sufficient to permit the jurors to reach the verdict which they did.
State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989). In doing so, we assume the jury believed the state's witnesses and disbelieved any contrary evidence. State v. McKenzie, 511 N.W.2d 14, 17 (Minn. 1994).
Root testified that he sold the trailer and boat, including custom equipment and a motor, for $11,500 in October 1994 and that the approximate value of the trailer and boat as he saw them in Montevideo was "in the neighborhood of $8,000." "A jury can properly accept an owner's testimony as to the value of his or her property." State v. Clipper, 429 N.W.2d 698, 700 (Minn. App. 1988). Stevens challenges Root's estimate on the grounds that (1) Root did not give a market value estimate, (2) Root did not specify whether the value of the custom equipment sold with the boat in October 1994 was part of his estimate, (3) there was no evidence of the value of the boat without the trailer, and (4) because of the passage of time, Root's estimate of his boat's value in October 1994 was not probative of the value of the boat in Stevens's possession in August 1995.
Minn. Stat. § 609.52, subd. 1(3) (1996), defines value as
the retail market value at the time of the theft, or if the retail market value cannot be ascertained, the cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable time after the theft.
Root's estimate of value was based on the price for which he actually sold the boat, with custom equipment and a motor. It was, therefore, evidence of "retail market value," as required by the statute. Id. Moreover, Root testified that the combined value of the trailer and the boat, as he saw the boat in Montevideo without the custom equipment and motor, was approximately $8,000.
The jury could have concluded that the value of the boat alone exceeded $2,500 because there is record evidence that the trailer had a value of only $250. In February 1995, Stevens applied to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for registration of a 1991 Warrior trailer, which he claimed to have purchased for $250. There also was in evidence an invoice for a kit for a 20-foot trailer that Stevens purportedly purchased for $250. Finally, the fact that 10 months passed between the theft and the date the boat was in Stevens's possession is irrelevant to the issue of value because section 609.52 requires a determination of value at "the time of the theft," rather than at the time of the possession of stolen goods. There was sufficient evidence to support the jury's conclusion that the value of the boat alone exceeded $2,500.
Stevens moved to dismiss the charge of submitting false information in an application for a certificate of title on the ground of lack of venue. The district court denied Stevens's motion.
Except as otherwise provided by Rule 24 of the rules of criminal procedure, every criminal cause shall be tried in the county where the offense was committed.
Minn. Stat. § 627.01, subd. 1 (1996). The statute under which Stevens was charged provides:
A person is guilty of a felony and punishable by imprisonment for a term of not more than four years, or payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both, if the person with fraudulent intent:
(1) uses a false or fictitious name or address, makes a material false statement, fails to disclose a security interest, or conceals any other material fact in an application for a certificate of title; or
(2) submits a false, forged, or fictitious document in support of an application for a certificate of title.
Minn. Stat. § 86B.865, subd. 1 (1996).
Stevens contends that no element of the submitting false information offense occurred in Chippewa County because he lived in Lac Qui Parle County and the application for a certificate of title was received in Ramsey County. However, the "county where the offense was committed" is defined as
any county where any element of the offense was committed or any county where the property involved in an offense is or has been located.
Minn. Stat. § 627.01, subd. 2 (1996). The boat involved in both offenses was located in Chippewa County in August 1995. Stevens made material false statements in applying for a certificate of title for that boat. The district court did not err in determining that Chippewa County was a proper venue for trying the charge of submitting false information in an application for a certificate of title.
Stevens argues that his sentence for submitting false information in an application for a certificate of title must be vacated under Minn. Stat. § 609.035, subd. 1 (1996), because his two convictions are part of the same behavioral incident. Section 609.035 provides that "if a person's conduct constitutes more than one offense under the laws of this state, the person may be punished for only one of the offenses." Id. Absent clear error, the reviewing court will not disturb a district court's determination of whether multiple offenses arise from the same behavioral incident. Effinger v. State, 380 N.W.2d 483, 489 (Minn. 1986).
Stevens argues that if Chippewa County was an appropriate venue because the stolen boat was found in that county, then the convictions were interrelated. However, different standards apply for determining whether property is "involved" in an offense for the purpose of venue, see Minn. Stat. § 627.01, and for determining whether multiple offenses arise from the same behavioral incident for the purpose of sentencing. Whether multiple offenses arose out of a single behavioral incident depends on the facts and circumstances of the particular case, including the singleness of purpose of the defendant and the unity of time and place of the behavior. State v. Bookwalter, 541 N.W.2d 290, 294 (Minn. 1995). In arguing that Chippewa County was not an appropriate venue, Stevens alleged that possessing stolen goods and submitting false information "are distinct crimes and occurred at different times." We agree. Possessing stolen property and submitting false information in an application for a certificate of title involve different criminal objectives. We affirm Stevens's sentence because the two offenses do not arise out of the same behavioral incident.