Theft conviction reversed based on lack of evidence

April 10, 2015

A man accused of stealing a rangefinder from a southern Indiana Rural King had his conviction reversed Friday by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The judges concluded there was insufficient evidence to support Jeremy Middleton’s conviction.

Employees became suspicious of Middleton and two companions who were in the Rural King, and department manager Roxanne Mundy began following Middleton. She saw him attempt to cut the security device from a product but could not identify that product. Middleton left the store and Mundy followed, as well as two other managers. Middleton claimed to have not stolen anything and an employee flagged down a police officer. Middleton took off running and was arrested.

He was convicted of Class D felony theft of a range finder and Class C felony intimidation, based on his pulling a knife from his pocket during the parking lot interaction with Mundy. Middleton only appeals the theft charge.

Taking out hearsay testimony, the evidence presented against Middleton amounts to Mundy’s statements that she followed him, she saw him use a knife on a security device, and he left the store. No evidence was presented to prove Middleton took a range finder, which was discovered under some animal feed. Employees who allegedly saw Middleton with a range finder were not called to testify.

Thus, there is not sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could infer Middleton knowingly or intentionally exerted unauthorized control over a range finder, the COA held in Jeremy Middleton v. State of Indiana, 10A04-1407-CR-317.



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