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State v. Dukes

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Seneca

July 30, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TONIA D. DUKES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeal from Seneca County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. CRB 1701003

          W. Alex Smith for Appellant.

          Richard H. Palau for Appellee.

          OPINION

          ZIMMERMAN, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Tonia Dukes ("Dukes"), appeals the November 29, 2017 judgment of the Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court journalizing her theft conviction by a jury. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Facts and Procedural History

         {¶2} On July 28, 2017, Elizabeth Miller ("Miller"), an "Asset Protection Associate" with Wal-Mart, observed Dukes, along with Lester Miller ("Lester"), exit the perfume aisle. Miller noticed several boxes of high-dollar perfume hidden under a pillow in the cart being pushed by Lester. Miller decided to follow Dukes and Lester throughout the store.

         {¶3} Miller followed the couple to the boy's department. There, she observed Dukes remove the perfume from their boxes. Miller also observed another female, Kay Rauch ("Rauch"), join Dukes and Lester at this time. Miller saw Dukes remove four perfume bottles from their boxes and hand the bottles to Rauch. Rauch, in turn, concealed the perfume bottles into her purse.

         {¶4} Thereafter, Miller followed Rauch throughout Wal-Mart, approaching her when Rauch passed the "last point of sale" near the grocery doors, identifying herself as Wal-Mart security. Rauch dropped her purse and ran from the store. Thereupon, Miller contacted Tiffin Police Department to report the theft in which Dukes and Rauch were implicated.

         {¶5} Ultimately, Dukes was charged with theft, in violation of R.C. 2913.02(A)(1), for her involvement with Rauch. Dukes pled not guilty to the charge in the trial court.

         {¶6} On November 29, 2017, a jury trial was held in the trial court. Miller testified for the prosecution, along with Officer Kyle Illig. The testimony of Officer Illig included the statement he obtained from Rauch implicating Dukes in the theft. The state also introduced a video from Wal-Mart of the incident. Rauch testified in Duke's defense, testifying that she was "high on marijuana" at the time she gave her statement to the Tiffin officers that arrested her and Dukes at Wal-Mart. Rauch refuted her statement (given to police) at trial and testified that she was the sole person that took the perfume from Wal-Mart. Dukes did not testify. Ultimately, the jury found Dukes guilty of theft.

         {¶7} The trial court sentenced Dukes to serve 180 days in jail and to pay a fine of $150.00, however, the trial court suspended 90 days of the jail time. The trial court also placed Dukes on probation for a period of three years.

         {¶8} Dukes now appeals, asserting the following assignments of error.

         ASSIGNMENT ...


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