NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 30, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 09-08-1344.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Lon Taylor, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, of counsel and on the brief).
Andrew C. Carey, Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Nancy A. Hulett, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and on the brief).
Before Judges Fuentes, Fasciale and Haas.
Defendant appeals from his convictions for third-degree burglary, N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2; and fourth-degree hindering prosecution, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3b(4). We affirm.
In February 2011, a judge and jury tried this case over three days. The State produced testimony from five officers and two lay witnesses. Defendant did not testify. We discern the following facts from the evidence adduced at trial.
Brian Bulfur resided at Nancy Devlin's house while attending school. On December 2, 2008, at approximately 3:30 a.m., Bulfur returned to the house, where he found the garage door open and saw a flashlight shining inside the premises. He approached the garage and noticed a stocky Hispanic man with dark hair and a moustache. This man, whom the jury subsequently found to be defendant, left his cell phone in the house before leaving the premises. Bulfur heard yelling and watched the man run towards a gray SUV, enter it, and then drive away. Bulfur contacted the police and two officers arrived at the house. Officer Ernest Hanrahan noticed that "multiple rooms were ransacked" and the back door was partially open. Detective William Lynch dusted for fingerprints, but was unable to detect or lift any usable prints.
At 3:55 a.m. that same day, defendant's girlfriend, with whom defendant resided, reported that her cell phone, a GPS unit, and a radar detector had been stolen from an unlocked car behind the girlfriend's house. Nancy Devlin eventually found a cell phone under a dresser in her residence and turned it over to Detective Lynch, who used it to call defendant's father to obtain defendant's phone number. When Detective Lynch called defendant, he told the officer that his cell phone, a GPS unit, and a radar detector had been stolen. The investigation revealed that the cell phone found in the Devlins' home was defendant's own.
The jury found defendant guilty of burglary and hindering prosecution. In April 2011, the judge granted the State's motion to impose an extended term as a persistent offender and sentenced defendant to an aggregate ten-year prison term with four years parole ineligibility.
On appeal, defendant raises the ...