from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No.
O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, Barbara A. Farnbacher, for
Hemminger Law Firm, LLC and Chad K. Hemminger, for appellant.
Barbara A. Farnbacher.
1} Defendant-appellant, Sandrine Taylor, appeals
from a judgment entry of the Franklin County Court of Common
Pleas finding her guilty, pursuant to jury verdict, of one
count of theft. For the following reasons, we affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
2} By indictment filed March 3, 2016,
plaintiff-appellee, State of Ohio, charged Taylor with one
count of theft in violation of R.C. 2913.02, a fifth-degree
felony. The indictment alleged Taylor stole merchandise from
Walmart valued at or more than $1, 000 and less than $7, 500.
Taylor entered a plea of not guilty.
3} At a jury trial commencing January 30, 2017,
Shaundreika Reed, an asset protection associate at the
Walmart located at 3900 Morse Road, testified that on
February 18, 2016, she was working the night shift when she
saw two women on the store's surveillance video who were
randomly selecting items without checking prices and putting
them into two shopping carts, behavior which she found
"suspicious." (Jan. 31, 2017 Tr. Vol. I at 55.)
Reed said she watched on the surveillance video as the two
women picked up blankets and apparel and then moved to the
store's grocery section, filling their carts with
"random food, " again without checking prices. (Tr.
Vol. I at 55.) Once the women arrived in the pet department,
Reed testified they began bagging the items in their cart
into clear bags they had obtained from the grocery
department. The two women remained in the pet aisle for
nearly two hours.
4} Reed testified that the Walmart on Morse Road has
approximately 40 surveillance cameras set up throughout the
store but that the view of the two women was partially
obscured when they were in the pet aisle, so Walmart sent
another asset protection associate out on the floor to watch
the women bagging up the items in their cart. When the two
women emerged from the pet aisle, their two shopping carts
were full of bagged merchandise that had been placed inside
of large tote bags. Once the two women arrived at the
registers at the front of the store, one of the women
selected a few items from her cart and paid for a total of 18
items, which cost a total of approximately $65, leaving the
rest of the merchandise in their carts. Reed then watched as
the two women walked past the last point of sale with the two
carts full of merchandise for which they did not pay.
5} As the women were attempting to exit the store,
Reed approached them along with two other asset protection
associates and four officers from the Columbus Division of
Police. Reed said she then learned the two women were a
mother and daughter. She identified Taylor in court as the
mother from the pair of women. Reed testified Taylor
apologized to her for what she had just done. Reed also said
the daughter claimed that she had paid for all the remaining
6} Reviewing the surveillance footage, Reed was able
to determine the women entered the store around 4:30 p.m. and
attempted to leave around 11:30 p.m., meaning they were in
the store for seven hours. Reed testified that the women
continued to place items into their carts during that entire
seven-hour window and that at no time did either one of them
pay for the items other than the 18 they selected and paid
for when they tried to leave the store. The state played the
surveillance footage for the jury and also admitted into
evidence still photographs of Taylor and her daughter
entering the store. The surveillance footage showed the two
women placing items into each other's carts and moving
items from one cart to the other. Reed testified the two
women were together for almost the entire seven hours with
the exception of one of them leaving for a few minutes to
grab an item and return.
7} Taylor never produced a receipt for the remaining
items she claimed she had paid for. Reed testified that
Walmart has a "smart system" in its computers that
allows the asset protection team to see which items were
purchased from the store at what times. (Tr. Vol. I at 83.)
Using that smart system, Reed was able to verify that neither
Taylor nor her daughter had purchased the remaining items in
the carts. Reed also provided the surveillance footage to
8} After police apprehended Taylor and her daughter,
Reed said Walmart's asset protection team took the
remaining items in the carts and generated a print out of all
the items that were not paid for and their accompanying
retail prices. Reed testified that there were 375 items that
the two women had not paid for totaling $2, 356.10.
9} Jennifer Smith, another asset protection officer
for Walmart, testified that she went onto the sales floor to
observe Taylor and her daughter once the view of them on the
surveillance cameras became obstructed. Smith testified she
watched as Taylor and her daughter bagged merchandise into
the clear bags from the grocery department and then took
large tote bags from another department of the store and
began filling those tote bags with the merchandise in their
carts. Smith said she stood approximately ten feet away from
the women while they were in the pet aisle bagging up the
10} Stanford Speaks, an officer with the Columbus
Division of Police, testified that he was working special
duty at the Walmart on Morse Road on the night of February
18, 2016. Officer Speaks testified that one of the asset
protection officers at Walmart alerted him to Taylor's
suspicious behavior in the store so he went into the asset
protection office and observed on the surveillance footage
Taylor and her daughter bagging up "a tremendous
amount" of merchandise. (Feb. 1, 2017 Tr. Vol. II at
162.) Officer Speaks said police officers get involved with
someone suspected of stealing merchandise once that person
walks past the last point of sale without paying for the
merchandise. Officer Speaks testified that when Taylor and
her daughter walked past the last point of sale, he came out
of the asset protection office and approached the two women,
attempting to escort them into the office; however, Officer
Speaks said Taylor's daughter "became very
agitated" and would not cooperate. (Tr. Vol. II at 166.)
Further, Officer Speaks testified the daughter kept saying
she had paid for everything.
11} At the close of the state's evidence,
defense counsel made a Crim.R. 29 motion for acquittal. The
trial court denied the motion.
12} Sanvera Winbush, Taylor's 26-year-old
daughter, testified she was shopping with her mother at
Walmart on February 18, 2016, something she said they do
together frequently. Winbush testified she typically spends
"[a]t least five hours" at Walmart when she shops
there with her mother. (Tr. Vol. II at 195.) Winbush said she
paid for $412 worth of merchandise although she could not
produce a receipt for the items. Winbush was convicted of
theft in relation to this incident.
13} David Bola, a neighbor of Taylor's,
testified he has lived near Taylor since 2002. Bola testified
he has known Taylor to be honest and truthful. However, Bola
admitted he knew nothing about the incident at Walmart, was
not an eyewitness, was not present at the scene, and had not
seen the surveillance video.
14} Another neighbor, Aaron Robinson, Sr., testified
he has lived near Taylor for approximately five years and
that he finds Taylor to be "very trustworthy."
(Feb. 2, 2017 Tr. Vol. III at 36.) Robinson also had no
knowledge of the incident at Walmart, was not present at the
scene, was not an eyewitness, and had not seen the
15} Finally, Taylor testified in her own defense.
She testified that her daughter had paid for everything in
her shopping cart except the dog food and the water and that
her daughter had showed her a receipt. Taylor admitted she
was in the pet aisle with her daughter for approximately two
hours where they were bagging up merchandise. Taylor said
that by the time ...