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State v. Brown

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee
No. M2000-00388-CCA-R3-CD (2001)


Minnie Montgomery, an employee of Nicholson Cleaners, was unloading clothes from a company van. A man, Brown (defendant), walked up and offered assistance, but Montgomery declined and kept working. Shortly thereafter, Montgomery looked up and saw the van moving toward the parking lot’s exit. While a co-worker called the police, Montgomery attempted to run after the van. Before the vehicle disappeared, Montgomery was able to see and recognize the driver as Brown. A description of the van was broadcast to the police, and Officer Michael Moss immediately went to an alley where thieves were known to often deposit stolen vehicles. Moss found the van in the alley with the suspect still inside. Brown tried to escape, but the doors of the van were blocked. Approximately 15 minutes after the van was taken, Brown was arrested with the keys to the van in his possession. After an inspection, it was determined that nothing was missing from the van. At trial, the owner of Nicholson Cleaners testified that the van was worth $2,000. Brown was convicted of theft, which required intent to deprive an owner of property worth between $1,000 and $10,000 while knowingly obtaining or exercising control over the property without the owner’s effective consent. The deprivation requirement was defined as the withholding of property from the owner either permanently or for such a period of time as to substantially diminish the value or enjoyment of the property to the owner. Brown appealed, arguing that he did not withhold the vehicle for long enough to have the requisite intent to deprive.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Woodall, J.)

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