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COA affirms theft-related convictions, sentence

November 16, 2017

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a Cass County man’s multiple theft-related felonies and related sentence after finding sufficient evidence supported those convictions.

In Kenny Purvis v. State of Indiana, 09A02-1702-CR-454, Kenny Purvis was seen on surveillance footage stealing a cell phone and video games from the Logansport Wal-Mart on two occasions. When he was seen in the same store a third time, Purvis and his cohorts, including Adam Wakefield, were escorted to the Asset Protection Office, where he consented to a search that led to the discovery of eight video games in his truck.

Purvis denied stealing the games, but admitted he knew they were stolen and that Wakefield planned to steal from the store. A subsequent investigation revealed Purvis sold the games on a Facebook page or in the Walmart parking lot.

Purvis was eventually found guilty of theft and conspiracy to commit theft as Level 6 felonies and corrupt business influence as a Level 5 felony and admitted to being a habitual offender. The Cass Superior Court sentenced him to an aggregate term of 12 years in prison.

On appeal, Purvis first argued there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions. But in a Thursday opinion, the Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed.

Instead, Judge John Baker wrote the video evidence showing Purvis taking and concealing video games and the value of the games and number he took supported a conviction for theft of at least $750 worth of goods. Further, Purvis and Wakefield together stole the same items on each occasion, supporting the conspiracy conviction, while the entire group of cohorts constituted an “enterprise” engaged in “racketeering activity” to support the corrupt business influence conviction, Baker said.

The appellate court also rejected Purvis’ argument this his 12-year sentence is inappropriate based on the nature of the offenses and his character, with Baker noting that had the trial court imposed maximum consecutive terms on each his convictions, he would have received a 17-year sentence.

“Purvis’s record reveals that he has failed to take advantage of numerous changes to learn from his mistakes – including an earlier conviction for felony theft – and his history demonstrates an unwillingness or inability to conform his behavior to the rule of law,” the judge wrote. “In sum, we do not find the sentence imposed by the trial court to be inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses or Purvis’s character.”

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