An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA04-950


Filed: 5 April 2005


         v.                        Guilford County
                                No. 02 CRS 96841

    Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 17 October 2003 by Judge Michael E. Helms in Guilford County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 14 March 2005.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Special Deputy Attorney General William H. Borden, for the State.

    Samuel L. Bridges, for defendant-appellant.

    CALABRIA, Judge.

    Antonio Lee (“d efendant”) was found guilty of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and was sentenced to an active term of a minimum of eight months and a maximum of ten months in the North Carolina Department of Correction. We find no error.
    The State presented evidence tending to show that in August 2002, Mary Gurganus (“Gurganus”) consigned her 1998 Land Rover sports utility vehicle (“Land Rover”) for sale at Affordable Auto in Rocky Mount. Gurganus saw the Land Rover on Affordable Auto's lot on 16 August 2002. However, during a conversation with the owner of Affordable Auto on 19 August 2002, they ascertained the Land Rover was missing when the owner informed Gurganus that hethought she had taken the Land Rover to use during the weekend. Thereafter, they contacted the Rocky Mount Police Department.
    Ricky Strickland (“Strickland”), a salesperson for Affordable Auto, testified that a man, whom he identified as defendant, came to the lot, and they test drove Gurganus' vehicle. Defendant asked for a bill of sale. Strickland left the key to the vehicle with defendant while he returned to his office to retrieve the requested documents. In the meantime, defendant looked at another vehicle. Strickland returned and gave the document to defendant, defendant handed Strickland what appeared to be the keys to both vehicles, and defendant departed. After the Land Rover was discovered missing, Strickland learned that one of the keys defendant handed him was not the appropriate key for the Land Rover.
    Kenneth Ray Key, Jr., manager and maintenance man at Summit Station Apartments in Greensboro, testified that on or about 11 September 2002, he witnessed defendant park a white Land Rover vehicle in a parking lot near the apartments. Defendant aroused Key's suspicions by jumping over the fence to enter the apartment complex instead of driving the vehicle into the complex. Key contacted the Greensboro Police Department and reported what he saw.
    Officers Joseph Garrison and A.P. Hallinan of the Greensboro Police Department responded to a dispatch to the Summit Station Apartments. As they interviewed Mr. Key at the apartment complex, they saw a man matching the description given by Mr. Key. They stopped the man, whom they identified as defendant, and asked himwhether he lived at the complex. Defendant responded that he was visiting a friend. The officers observed that defendant was holding a vehicle key. They asked defendant whether he had any information about the white Land Rover parked on the other side of the fence. Defendant responded negatively. Officer Garrison decided to detain defendant for further investigation. As Officer Garrison placed his hand on defendant's wrist to handcuff him, defendant jerked his arm away and ran. The officers pursued defendant and apprehended him. During a patdown search of defendant, Officer Hallinan found a vehicle key in defendant's pocket.
    Office Hallinan further testified that the key opened the door to the white Land Rover and turned the ignition. Officer Hallinan also entered the license plate number of the Land Rover into a mobile digital terminal which is interfaced with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The terminal returned a report that the vehicle had been reported stolen.
    Defendant did not present any evidence.
    By his sole assignment of error, defendant contends the court erred by denying his motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence.
In deciding a motion to dismiss, t he trial court determines whether there is substantial evidence to establish each element of the offense charged and to identify the defendant as the perpetrator. State v. Earnhardt, 307 N.C. 62, 65-66, 296 S.E.2d 649, 651 (1982). In making this determination, the court must consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, giving it the benefit ofevery reasonable inference that may be drawn from the evidence. State v. Brown, 310 N.C. 563, 566, 313 S.E.2d 585, 587 (1984). Contradictions and discrepancies in the evidence are to be disregarded and left for resolution by a jury. State v. Powell, 299 N.C. 95, 99, 261 S.E.2d 114, 117 (1980).
    An accused is guilty of possession of a stolen motor vehicle in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-106 if he (1) possesses (2) a stolen motor vehicle and (3) has knowledge or reason to believe that the vehicle has been stolen. State v. Bailey, 157 N.C. App. 80, 83-84, 577 S.E.2d 683, 686 (2003). That defendant possessed the Land Rover in Greensboro is established by evidence that he had the key to the vehicle on his person and he had been seen leaving the vehicle. That he knew or had reason to believe the Land Rover was stolen is established by evidence that he fled when the questioning by the police officers focused on the vehicle. See State v. Parker, 316 N.C. 295, 304, 341 S.E.2d 555, 560 (1986) (evidence of the defendant's flight permitted a reasonable inference that the defendant knew or had reason to know a vehicle was stolen).
    Defendant contends the evidence fails to establish that the Land Rover discovered in defendant's possession in Greensboro was the same vehicle which was stolen from the lot of Affordable Auto in Rocky Mount. We disagree. Gurganus testified that the white Land Rover automobile which was recovered in Greensboro and returned to her was her white Land Rover vehicle which had been taken from the lot of Affordable Auto without her permission. Officer Hallinan testified that the license plate number on the Land Rover recovered in Greensboro was the same as the license plate number of “the vehicle that had been stolen.” Detective Larry Woodley of the Rocky Mount Police Department also identified the vehicle as the same vehicle that was stolen in Rocky Mount. Based upon the foregoing evidence, a jury could reasonably conclude that the vehicle which was recovered in Greensboro was the same vehicle which was stolen in Rocky Mount.
    We hold the evidence is sufficient to withstand the motion to dismiss. We overrule the assignment of error.
    No error.
    Chief Judge MARTIN and Judge McCULLOUGH concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

*** Converted from WordPerfect ***