CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM WARREN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. 12CR28589.
David P. Fornshell, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney, Michael Greer, for plaintiff-appellee.
William F. Oswall, Jr., for defendant-appellant.
(¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Jacob Hoskins, appeals his conviction in the Warren County Court of Common Pleas for robbery. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm appellant's conviction.
(¶ 2} On October 1, 2012, appellant was indicted on one count of robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.02(A)(3) and one count of theft in violation of R.C. 2913.02(A)(1). The charges arose out of allegations that on July 29, 2012, appellant stole a Sony surround sound system from a Walmart store located in Middletown, Warren County Ohio, and, in fleeing immediately after committing this theft, used force against a store employee.
(¶ 3} A bench trial was held in December 2012. At trial, the state presented the testimony of Barbara Arnold and Tyler Reamy, two asset protection employees for Walmart, and Officer David Creech of the Middletown Police Department. Arnold testified that she has worked as an asset protection officer for Walmart for four years and that her primary responsibility is to prevent shoplifting. Arnold explained that Walmart uses a video surveillance system called "March, " which records 24 hours a day, and that this system was in operation on July 29, 2012.
(¶ 4} Arnold stated that she had been at work on July 29, 2012 when she received a phone call from an employee at another Walmart store who warned her that two individuals had been overheard planning to steal a Sony surround sound system from the Middletown location. Arnold testified that in response to this phone call, she and her partner, Reamy, walked back to the electronics department where they found appellant looking at a Sony surround sound system. Arnold observed appellant placing the sound system in his shopping cart and then leaving the electronics department. Arnold testified that she trailed appellant, following him into the grocery department where he selected a gallon of milk and a frozen pizza. Appellant then pushed his shopping cart to the front of the store, where Arnold watched appellant take his pizza and milk to a check-out line while leaving his cart, with the sound system in it, in an empty check-out line. After appellant purchased his milk and pizza, Arnold observed appellant walk back to the cart containing the sound system, place his purchased items in the cart, and push the cart past all points of sale and into the store's vestibule, which is located near the store's entrance and exit point.
(¶ 5} Arnold testified that once appellant pushed the sound system into the vestibule, she and Reamy confronted appellant by getting in front of appellant's shopping cart, introducing themselves, and telling appellant that they needed to talk to him about the sound system. Arnold stated that appellant became "real shaky [and] real nervous, " but did not say anything. Arnold told appellant he needed to accompany her and Reamy to their office, which was located to the right of where they were standing in the vestibule, near the entrance to the store. The "March" video surveillance footage indicated that this confrontation took place at 2:53:24 p.m.
(¶ 6} According to Arnold, appellant "start[ed] to act like he was going to cooperate" and began walking towards the office, but he then "walked back" towards his shopping cart. Appellant then cooperated again by walking towards the loss prevention office. Arnold testified that at this time, appellant "decide[d] he [did not] want to cooperate at all, so he trie[d] to take off" by going around Arnold and Reamy, but Arnold was able to "push him up against the wall [while Reamy was] still holding him down." The "March" video surveillance footage depicted this event at 2:53:35 p.m.
(¶ 7} Arnold testified that Reamy was able to open the door to the loss prevention office, and appellant was escorted inside at 2:53:50 p.m. The shopping cart containing the sound system was left in the vestibule until another Walmart employee secured the item.
(¶ 8} Once inside the loss prevention office, Arnold instructed appellant to have a seat on a bench that was located along the right wall. Arnold stated that appellant initially sat down in a chair and was asked to move to the bench seat. Arnold testified that at 2:53:57 p.m., appellant stood up, turned quickly, and started to run towards the door but Arnold and Reamy were able to move in front of appellant and block his way. Appellant was again instructed to have a seat on the bench, and at 2:54:05 p.m., he complied with the instruction. Arnold explained she and Reamy began asking appellant questions and attempted to fill out the necessary paperwork to process appellant as a shoplifter. At this time, appellant gave Arnold his name. At 2:55:25 p.m., appellant stood up from his seat. Arnold told appellant to return to his seat, and at 2:55:34 p.m., appellant again sat down. However, at 2:55:39 p.m., appellant stood up "in * * * a rush." Arnold testified that she placed her arms out in anticipation of appellant's next move, but at 2:55:40 p.m., appellant placed his hands on Arnold's arms and moved her out of his way. Arnold stated that as appellant made it by her, he came into contact with Reamy. At 2:55:41 p.m., appellant pushed past Reamy, causing Reamy to spin into a wall and scrape his arm on a dry erase board. Arnold stated that by 2:55:45 p.m., appellant had fled from the loss prevention office and the store.
(¶ 9} Arnold testified that Reamy followed appellant and observed appellant enter a blue Chevrolet Blazer. Reamy was able to get the Blazer's license plate number, and Arnold contacted the Middletown Police Department. Arnold explained that the Middletown police located appellant and were able to bring him back to Walmart later that day so that she and Reamy could identify him.
(¶ 10} Following Arnold's testimony, Reamy took the stand and testified about the theft of the sound system. Reamy's testimony corroborated Arnold's account of events, emphasizing that appellant was "uncooperative" when confronted. According to Reamy, appellant "kept trying to dart around us, kept looking around. There were multiple times when we had to tell him that he needs to go with us and then he tried to push past me on ...