How an iPad Can Lead to a Burglary Conviction in Texas

September 26th, 2017 by Tad Nelson in Houston Criminal Cases

Electronic devices are a valuable commodity and a frequent target of burglary. But today’s “smart” devices, including tablets and phones, contain tracking features that make it possible to locate a stolen device even without police assistance. Such tracking, in turn, can help provide evidence that may be used against the accused burglar at trial.

Device Tracking, Eyewitness Testimony Leads to 20-Year Burglary Sentence

Consider this recent burglary case from Eastland. There were two burglaries in Taylor County. In the first burglary, the victim reported his iPad and several other electronic items stolen. The iPad had a tracking feature, which the victim used to trace the device to a particular street block. The victim’s brother then went to this location and observed a man–the defendant–taking a large-screen television out of a white sport utility vehicle. The brother’s testimony matched that of another witness–the neighbor of the second burglary victim–who saw the defendant put a television into a white SUV.

The police went to the block identified by the first victim’s iPad. There they entered the defendant’s house and searched the place with his consent. The officers located several of the stolen items. The iPad itself was found in an alley behind the house. Officers also found cocaine. The defendant was arrested and charged with burglary of a habitation and possession with intent to distribute. The jury convicted the defendant on both counts and he received a 20-year prison sentence.

On appeal, the defendant argued there were mistakes made at his trial with respect to the admission of certain evidence, notably the testimony of a police officer and a cellphone seized during the arrest. The appeals court overruled both objections, however, holding that even if mistakes were made, they were “harmless” errors and did not affect the outcome of the trial. Indeed, the court noted the evidence of the defendant’s guilt was “overwhelming,” including the tracking information from the stolen iPad and the eyewitness testimony of the first victim’s brother.

Have You Been Charged With Burglary?

If the police show up at your door and accuse you of burglary, you should not let them search your house without first obtaining a warrant. Nor should you volunteer any information that may be used against you at trial. What you should do is speak with a qualified Houston burglary lawyer who can advise you of your rights and deal with the police and prosecutors on your behalf. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today if you have been charged with burglary or any other serious felony and require immediate assistance. We are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.

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