in the Court of Appeals 28 March 2019.
by defendant from judgment entered 10 October 2017 by Judge
Claire V. Hill in Cumberland County No. 16 CRS 63767 Superior
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney
General M. Denise Stanford, for the State.
Charlotte Gail Blake for defendant-appellant.
Albert Lewis Speas appeals from judgment entered upon his
conviction for felonious larceny. After careful review, we
find no error.
February 2017, defendant was indicted for felonious larceny
and felonious possession of stolen goods. The larceny
indictment specifically alleged that defendant
"unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did steal, take
and carry away one (1) television, the personal property of
Sears Roebuck and Company, having a value of One Thousand Six
Hundred Ninety-Nine Dollars and Ninety-Nine Cents ($1,
699.99)." Defendant was also indicted for having
attained habitual felon status.
October 2017, defendant was convicted by a jury of both
felonious larceny and felonious possession of stolen goods.
The trial court arrested judgment on the charge of possession
of stolen goods. Defendant subsequently pled guilty to having
attained the status of an habitual felon. The trial court
sentenced defendant to a term of 89 to 119 months
imprisonment. Defendant appeals.
appeal, defendant's sole argument is that the indictment
for larceny is fatally defective because it does not allege
that "Sears Roebuck and Company" was an entity
capable of owning property. We disagree.
is well settled that a valid bill of indictment is essential
to the jurisdiction of the trial court to try an accused for
a felony." State v. Abraham, 338 N.C. 315, 339,
451 S.E.2d 131, 143 (1994) (citation and quotation marks
omitted). "The purpose of an indictment is to give a
defendant notice of the crime for which he is being
charged[.]" State v. Bowen, 139 N.C.App. 18,
24, 533 S.E.2d 248, 252 (2000). An "indictment must
allege all of the essential elements of the crime sought to
be charged." State v. Westbrooks, 345 N.C. 43,
57, 478 S.E.2d 483, 492 (1996) (citation omitted). Lack of
jurisdiction in the trial court due to a fatally defective
indictment requires the appellate court to arrest judgment or
vacate any order entered without authority. State v.
Hicks, 148 N.C.App. 203, 205, 557 S.E.2d 594, 596
defendant was indicted for felonious larceny. The essential
elements of larceny are: (1) the taking of the property of
another; (2) carrying it away; (3) without the owner's
consent; and (4) with the intent to permanently deprive the
owner of the property. State v. Perry, 305 N.C. 225,
233, 287 S.E.2d 810, 815 (1982), overruled on other
grounds by State v. Munford, 364 N.C. 394, 699 S.E.2d
911 (2010); see also N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-72
(2017). "To be sufficient, an indictment for larceny
must allege the owner or person in lawful possession of the
stolen property. If the entity named in the indictment is not
a person, it must be alleged that the victim was a legal
entity capable of owning property[.]" State v.
Phillips, 162 N.C.App. 719, 720-21, 592 S.E.2d 272, 273
(2004) (alteration in original) (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted). "If the property alleged to
have been stolen . . . is the property of a corporation, the
name of the corporation should be given, and the fact that it
is a corporation stated, unless the name itself imports a
corporation." State v. Thornton, 251 N.C. 658,
662, 111 S.E.2d 901, 903 (1960) (internal citation and
quotation marks omitted).
instant indictment charges defendant with larceny of the
personal property of "Sears Roebuck and Company."
Defendant contends that this is insufficient because,
although the indictment contains the word
"company," it does not identify "Sears Roebuck
and Company" as a company or other corporate entity. We
are not persuaded.
Thornton, the North Carolina Supreme Court
determined that an indictment which alleged defendant
embezzled money belonging to "The Chuck Wagon" was
insufficient because it failed to sufficiently identify
"The Chuck Wagon" as a corporation, and the name
itself did not import a corporation. Id. at 662, 111
S.E.2d at 904. By contrast, here, the word
"company" is part of the name of the property
owner, "Sears Roebuck and Company." Our
Supreme Court has stated "the words
'limited,' or 'company,' or their
abbreviated form, sufficiently identify a corporation in an
indictment." State v. Campbell, 368 N.C. 83,
86, 772 S.E.2d 440, 443 (2015) (emphasis added) (citing
Thornton, 251 N.C. at 662, 111 S.E.2d at 904);
see also State v. Cave, 174 N.C.App. 580, 583, 621
S.E.2d 299, 301 (2005) (concluding that an indictment was
sufficient because the name" N.C. FYE, Inc."
imports a corporation).
we conclude the name of the property owner named in the
indictment, "Sears Roebuck and Company," was
sufficient itself to" 'import[ ] an association or a
corporation capable of owning property.'"
Id. at 83, 772 S.E.2d at 444 (quoting
Thornton, 251 N.C. at 661, 111 S.E.2d at 903).