According to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a Framingham man stole a $600 leaf blower this past month. The article states that at approximately 12:45pm on a recent Monday, the alleged victim called the police and reported that a man had just stolen his leaf blower. He indicated that the item was taken from his front yard, located on Swanson Street. According to the alleged victim, the man who took the leaf blower then drove of off in a U-Haul. Police responded to the area, located a U-Haul truck matching the alleged victim’s description, and pulled over the driver. The driver, who was later identified as the defendant in this case, denied stealing the item and told officers that he believed that the leaf blower was his. The defendant was subsequently charged with larceny over $250 and driving with a suspended license.
For the Commonwealth to obtain a conviction against the defendant for larceny over $250, under G. L. c. 266, § 30, it would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the defendant took and carried away property; (2) that the property was owned or possessed by someone other than the defendant; (3) that the defendant did so with the intent to deprive that person of the property permanently; and (4) that the value of the property exceeded $250. An honest and reasonable belief that the property belonged to the defendant is a legitimate defense to the charges. Specifically, if the defendant took the leaf blower in an honest and reasonable belief that he had a legal right to it, then he cannot be convicted of the charge (even if that belief was in fact mistaken) because he lacked the intent to steal. Continue reading →