State v. Bacon, ___ N.C. App. ___, 803 S.E.2d 402 (Jul. 18, 2017)

temp. stay granted, ___ N.C. ___, 802 S.E.2d 460 (Aug. 4, 2017)

Although there was a fatal variance between the allegation in a felony larceny indictment as to the owner of the stolen property and the proof of ownership presented at trial, the variance did not warrant dismissal. The indictments alleged that all of the stolen items, a television, gaming system, video games, laptop, camera, and earrings were the personal property of April Faison. The evidence at trial indicated that Faison did not own all of those items. Specifically, her daughter owned the laptop and the camera; the gaming system belonged to a friend. Although the defendant conceded that some of the items listed in the indictment correctly named Faison as property owner, he argued that a fatal variance with respect to the other items required dismissal. The State’s evidence would have been sufficient if it had established that Faison, while not the property owner, had some special interest in the items owned by others, for example, as a bailee. However, the State’s evidence did not establish that. The court also rejected the argument that Faison had a special custody interest in her child’s property because, here, her daughter was an adult who did not live in the home. Thus, while the evidence was sufficient to demonstrate that Faison was the owner of some of the property, there was a fatal variance with respect to ownership of other items. The court however went on to reject the argument that a larceny indictment that properly alleges the owner of certain stolen property, but improperly alleges the owner of additional property, must be dismissed in its entirety. Here, the problematic language was surplusage.