Posted on August 18, 2017
Examples of Possession of Burglary Tools (PC 466)
Possession of burglary tools is a misdemeanor offense charged under Penal Code 466 making it a crime to have in your possession, certain tools, for the purposes of gaining unlawful entry into a structure. A conviction carries up to six (6) months in the county jail and a fine up to $1,000. Below are three examples of burglary tools to help you get a better understanding of the charge.
In People v. Southard (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 1079, the California Appellate Court upheld a conviction for possession of burglary tools after the defendant was apprehended after fleeing from officers. An inventory search of the vehicle revealed among other things, a crowbar, five pillars, large bolt cutters, binoculars, a flashlight, and ski mask. During trial, the arresting officer explained that, although none of the individual items were illegal to possess, collectively the tools would be useful for breaking into a structure/building. Although none of the above tools discovered are listed with the PC 466 statute, the court found that it was harmless since the items discovered were commonly used to facilitate burglary or indicated an intent to use the told for a burglarious or criminal purpose. The second indicia of felonious intent was based on the defendant fleeing from officers which provided evidence of consciousness of guilt.
In People v. Kelly (2007) 154 Cal.App.4th 961, the court upheld the defendant’s conviction for possession of burglary tools since sufficient evidence supported the finding that slingshot and box cutters in defendant’s possess were prohibited “burglary instruments or tools”; officer’s testimony that slingshots were used by burglars to break into vehicles by propelling porcelain chips at vehicle windows, and that burglars use box cutters to cut wires of car stereos, and evidence that defendant match the description of a person seen breaking into a van, and his evasive action when seeing police, and the victim’s wallet in his possession all collectively demonstrated his felonious intent to burglarize.
In People v. Gordon (2007) 90 Cal.App.4th 1409, the appellate court reversed the defendant’s conviction for possession of burglary tools when it concluded that possession of ceramic spark plug chips did not violation section 466. The court reasoned, “the test is not whether a device can be accomplished the same general purpose as the tools enumerated in section 466; rather, the device itself must be similar to those specifically mentioned,” and thus “a ceramic piece of a spark plug that can be thrown at a car window is not similar to the burglar’s tools listed in the statute.”
If you have been arrested or cited for possession burglary tools, then contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers to schedule your free case evaluation.