Where there is no market value of an article that has been stolen, its actual value should be proved.
Defendant, a graduate student, was found guilty of grand larceny for theft of keys, computer cards and printouts, and the use of computer time and services without university authorization, in violation of Va. Code Ann. §§ 18.1-100, 18.1-118. Defendant appealed. On appeal, the state conceded that defendant could not be convicted of grand larceny of the keys and computer cards, because there was no evidence that those articles were stolen and that they had a market value of $100 or more.
Is the cost of producing computer print-outs proper criterion of value for larceny trial?
The court held that labor and services, and the unauthorized use of the university's computer could not be construed to be subjects of larceny under the provisions of Code §§ 18.1-100 and 18.1-118, because the language of the statutes required a taking and carrying away of an item of property, and because without explicit statutory language, labor or services could not be the subject of the statutory crime of false pretense. (Superseded by Virginia statute, Code § 18.2-98.1 in 1978.) It further held that because the value of the computer printouts was not ascertainable, the evidence was insufficient to convict defendant of grand larceny under the applicable statutes. It reversed defendant's conviction and quashed the indictment.