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State v. Donaldson
Iowa Supreme Court
663 N.W.2d 882 (2003)
Around 2:00 a.m., Dean Donaldson (defendant) broke into a van owned by Combined Pool & Spa, dismantled the steering column, and manipulated the ignition switch in an attempt to hot-wire the van’s engine to make it start. A police officer spotted the van’s open sliding door and approached the vehicle. Donaldson exited the driver’s side door and ran away. The State of Iowa (plaintiff) charged Donaldson with second-degree theft. At trial, the police officer testified that Donaldson had engaged all of the van’s electrical systems, including the radio and the dashboard, and caused the van’s brake lights to flash. The police officer noted that all Donaldson had left to do to drive the van away was to engage the starter by combining the correct wires. A jury convicted Donaldson of second-degree theft and he appealed, arguing that there were insufficient facts to show that he possessed the van as required by state statute.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Streit, J.)
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