U.S. v. Mafnas
9th Cir COA - 1983
- D was an employee of an armored car service. Several banks hired the service to deliver money.
- D stole money on three occasions from the bags in the armored car he was driving.
- D was charged with three counts of stealing money from a bank, a federal offense.
- D argued that since he was a bailee of the money, he had legal possession of the bags of money in the truck.
- Trial court found D guilty.
- 9th Cir COA affirmed, D guilty.
- If a person receives property with instructions to deliver it to its owner, does that person have legal possession over the property?
- A person who receives property with instructions to deliver it to its owner does not have legal possession over the property; he merely has custody.
- D was given temporary custody of the bags of money.
- D's decision to take money from the bags was inconsistent with the consent of the owner, who retained constructive possession over the money. Thus, D is guilty of larceny.
- Under the common law, a bailee is guilty of larceny if he breaks open the parcel in his care and takes some of it.
- This kind of taking is trespassory since it steals something in the constructive possession of another.