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State v. Bridgett

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

November 9, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
DEONDRE M. BRIDGETT DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-607373-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Leigh S. Prugh

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Adam M. Chaloupka Assistant County Prosecutor

          BEFORE: Blackmon, J., Kilbane, P.J., and Stewart, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          PATRICIA ANN BLACKMON, J.

         {¶1} Deondre M. Bridgett ("Bridgett") appeals from his conviction for receiving stolen property. He assigns the following errors for our review:

I. The trial court erred in denying Bridgett's Crim.R. 29(A) motion for acquittal in the face of insufficient evidence to prove guilt of the offense of receiving stolen property beyond a reasonable doubt.
II. The trial court erred in sentencing Bridgett for a crime for which he was acquitted.

         {¶2} Having reviewed the record and pertinent law, we affirm the conviction and eighteen-month sentence for receiving stolen property, but we remand for nunc pro tunc correction of the sentencing entry to delete the "on each count" reference that appears to be a clerical error. The apposite facts follow.

         {¶3} In June 2016, Bridgett and codefendant Darren Allen were indicted for receiving a stolen motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony, in violation of R.C. 2913.51(A), and possessing criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony, in violation of R.C. 2923.24(A). Both counts contained forfeiture specifications pertaining to screwdrivers found in the car. Bridgett pled not guilty and waived his right to a jury trial. The matter proceeded to trial on September 20, 2016.

         {¶4} The state's evidence indicated that at around 11:00 p.m. on June 19, 2016, Park Rangers Aaron Coleman and Tim Garris were on uniform patrol in Heritage Park, near Merwin Avenue and West Road, observing the crowd following game seven of the NBA finals. The officers observed three individuals get out of a Jeep. As they walked along, they used flashlights to look inside parked cars. Ranger Garris looked inside the Jeep and observed a t-shirt was wrapped around the steering column, which was "all torn apart, " and "destroyed all around it." Screwdrivers were inside the car. Ranger Garris testified that it is "pretty common" to wrap a steering column in that manner "when a vehicle has been stolen and the ignition's been popped." The rangers testified without objection that they ran a LEADS check on the vehicle and determined that it had been reported stolen from Cleveland approximately two days earlier. On questioning from the defense, Ranger Garris further stated that he then "called Cleveland and confirmed that it was a stolen vehicle."

         {¶5} The rangers stated that they did not expect the men to return to the Jeep since they had been spotted by police, so they advised their supervisors to be on the alert for the men and continued to observe the crowd in the area. The rangers planned to tow the Jeep and contact the owner at the end of the night.

         {¶6} Approximately fifteen minutes later, the rangers observed the men walking back toward the Jeep. Bridgett repeatedly used his cell phone to block his face as he and Allen returned to the Jeep, but the third man ran off as the rangers approached to initiate a traffic stop. According to Ranger Coleman, Bridgett was apprehended as he returned to the rear passenger seat of the vehicle. He was "pushing off, twisting and turning, " but then complied with their commands.

         {¶7} The rangers determined that Bridgett lived on the same street as the owner of the vehicle that had been reported stolen. Allen told the rangers that he and Bridgett were retrieving their cell phones that were charging inside the Jeep. He had a screwdriver in the waistband of his pants. Two other screwdrivers, including a broken screwdriver and its tip, were located in the front passenger seat. Bridgett had three cell phones in his pockets and a third cell phone was on the back seat. Other cell phones were charging inside the vehicle.

         {¶8} The trial court subsequently denied Bridgett's motion for acquittal and found him guilty of receiving stolen property and the forfeiture specification, but not guilty of possession of criminal tools. The court ...


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