This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




In the Matter of the Welfare of: C. C. K., Child.

Filed August 12, 1997


Lansing, Judge

Washington County District Court

File No. 829861Y

Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent)

Richard M. Arney, Washington County Attorney, Meredeth Magers, Assistant County Attorney, Government Center, 14900 61st Street North, P.O. Box 6, Stillwater, MN 55082 (for Respondent)

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Charlann E. Winking, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for Appellant)

Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Harten, Judge.



This appeal challenges a juvenile delinquency adjudication for conspiracy to commit theft. Because evidence presented at trial supports the adjudication, we affirm.


The district court adjudicated C.C.K. delinquent for conspiracy to commit theft from Market Place Foods in Forest Lake. The petition was based on events initially observed by Steven Callahan, who stopped by Market Place Foods on his way home from work at approximately 1:00 a.m. on September 11, 1996. While in the store Callahan noticed two juvenile males, C.C.K. and J.J.C., purchasing an inordinate amount of groceries. He saw a VISA card issued to Audrey Cardinal on the register counter. Callahan grew suspicious and reported his observations to the Forest Lake Police Department.

When police officer Kellee Wren entered the store some minutes later to investigate, she observed the cashier ringing up items at the register while C.C.K. bagged groceries. Wren noticed several bags filled with items from the store.

Wren asked the cashier to total the bill; it came to $1,675.42. C.C.K. told Wren he was buying the items for a camping trip to Detroit Lakes. Wren then asked C.C.K., J.J.C., and Joshua Gavin, who had joined the others, how they intended to pay for the groceries. C.C.K. said they were going to pay cash, so Wren asked them to empty their pockets. C.C.K. had $5.40, J.J.C. had $8.50, and Gavin had $476. C.C.K. also had Audrey Cardinal's VISA card in his pocket.

Audrey Cardinal testified that her grandson, J.J.C., lives with her and that C.C.K. spent the night of September 9-10 at her home. She testified that her purse containing her billfold with credit cards was on the kitchen counter the morning of the 10th. She noticed that the card was missing on the 11th after she had learned of her grandson's arrest. Cardinal testified that she had never given anyone permission to use her credit card.

After trial the court adjudicated C.C.K. delinquent for conspiracy to commit theft. C.C.K. appeals that adjudication.


In a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence we review the record in a light most favorable to the conviction to determine whether the trier of fact could reasonably conclude the juvenile committed the charged offense. Dale v. State, 535 N.W.2d 619, 623 (Minn. 1995). We must assume the trier of fact believed the state's witnesses and rejected contradictory evidence. Id. The credibility of witness testimony and the weight given to the evidence are issues for the trier of fact. State v. Bias, 419 N.W.2d 480, 484 (Minn. 1988). When, as here, an adjudication is based on circumstantial evidence, it is sustained when reasonable inferences from the evidence are consistent with the juvenile's guilt and inconsistent with any rational hypothesis other than guilt. State v. Alton, 432 N.W.2d 754, 756 (Minn. 1988).

Conspiracy to commit theft is proven when the state demonstrates (1) that the juvenile conspired or agreed with another person to commit the theft, and (2) that some overt act was taken in furtherance of the conspiracy. 10 Minnesota Practice, CRIMJIG 5.07 (1990); State v. Olkon, 299 N.W.2d 89, 104 (Minn. 1980).

C.C.K. asserts on appeal that the state failed to prove he knew J.J.C. did not have permission to use his grandmother's credit card. According to C.C.K., he believed J.J.C. was authorized to use the credit card, and he never agreed to participate in a theft. We conclude, however, that reasonable inferences from the evidence presented at trial support the fact-finder's conclusion that C.C.K. agreed to use the credit card with the knowledge that J.J.C. did not have permission.

C.C.K. told officer Wren that they intended to pay for the groceries with cash--despite the fact that he only had $5.40 in his pocket. If C.C.K. believed J.J.C. had permission to charge the groceries using his grandmother's credit card, he would have had no reason to lie to officer Wren. He had placed the credit card, which was previously on the register counter, in his pocket and he could have presented it to the officer. A reasonable fact-finder could infer that C.C.K. gave the police officer false information because he knew J.J.C. did not have permission to use the credit card. C.C.K. presented no other reasonable explanation for why he placed Audrey Cardinal's credit card in his pocket and why he told the police officer he and his friends intended to pay for $1,675.42 worth of groceries with cash. See State v. Ostrem, 535 N.W.2d 916, 923 (Minn. 1995) ("[T]o succeed in a challenge to a verdict based on circumstantial evidence, a convicted person must point to evidence in the record that is consistent with a rational theory other than guilt.").

Because competent evidence supports the adjudication and because there is no evidence suggesting a rational theory inconsistent with delinquency based on these circumstances, the district court could have concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that C.C.K. committed conspiracy to commit theft.