On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, Indictment No. 09-04-01113.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 12, 2011
Before Judges C.L. Miniman and LeWinn.
Defendant Ervin Wyman appeals from a judgment of conviction, following a jury trial, for theft by unlawful taking, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3, and from the eighteen-month sentence imposed for this offense. We affirm.
On December 7, 2008, the victim, who was seventy-nine years old, was playing a slot machine at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. She had earlier won $500 playing the slot machines. Just prior to the crime, she put her purse in front of her between the slot machine she was playing and one next to it. At that time, she had somewhere between $300 and $400 in her purse. Although the rest of the machines in the row were empty, a man sat in the seat immediately next to her and began asking her questions about how to play. She thought the questions were trivial and silly. Just as she turned around to talk to him, another person's arm reached over the barrier and grabbed her purse.
After her purse was snatched, the victim ran around the slot machine and caught the jacket coattail of a tall man, later identified as defendant, who was holding her purse. As she held onto defendant while trying to reach her purse, he threw it onto the floor. The victim released him to pick it up, only to discover that her wallet was missing. She then ran back to defendant, grabbed him again, and began yelling at him to give her back her wallet.
Alerted by the commotion, Casino Security Officer Kenneth Kollmar approached the area in question. As he did so, he reported a possible physical altercation over his radio and observed defendant throw an object over the slot machines and quickly walk away. Before defendant could reach the exit, Kollmar and other security officers detained him. Kollmar later picked up the object, which was the victim's wallet. Adam Faris, a casino security investigator, responded to Kollmar's radio report. He took custody of the wallet from Kollmar.
Detective Robert Thomas of the New Jersey State Police Casino Investigations Unit met with Faris and obtained his statement. He also interviewed the victim. Thomas then met with defendant in the State Police office located in the casino. He prepared a State Police Miranda*fn1 warning form and advised defendant of his rights. Defendant signed the form after indicating that he understood his rights and had agreed to waive them.*fn2 Defendant provided a statement to Thomas admitting that, when he saw the purse on the casino floor, he grabbed it. He further admitted that, when a woman came over and began grabbing at him, he pushed her away. The victim testified that, when her wallet was returned to her, she counted the money and found that she had about $350 in it. Based on this evidence, the jury convicted defendant of theft by unlawful taking.
In sentencing defendant, the judge found aggravating factors three, six, and nine.*fn3 Defendant raises the following issues for our consideration:
POINT I - IT WAS ERROR TO DENY DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS.
The Standard for the Motion.
Could a Reasonable Jury Return Verdicts Based upon the ...