Receiving Stolen Property Cases in California

In People v. King (2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 472, the Court concluded that receiving stolen property is a necessarily included offense of operating a chop shop where "it is clear from the information that the stolen property alleged to have been received is the same property, i.e., the stolen motor vehicles, that constitute the chop shop violation." (King, supra, 81 Cal.App.4th at p. 476.) The Court went on, "whether or not defendant was properly convicted of both offenses depends upon whether those convictions were based on the same stolen property. . . . The . . . information alleges defendant knowingly and intentionally operated a chop shop . . . . As noted . . . a chop shop is a place where stolen motor vehicles/parts are altered, etc. . . . . Other counts . . . alleged defendant unlawfully received and concealed four stolen motor vehicles . . . . We conclude that defendant's conviction for running a chop shop . . . was based, at least in part, on the stolen vehicles alluded to in the other counts . . . . The prosecutor argued as much during closing argument and respondent does not contend otherwise. Therefore, defendant's convictions for receiving stolen property must be reversed." (Id. at p. 479.) In People v. Sanchez (2003) 113 Cal.App.4th 325, the Court acknowledged that King's analysis meant that a conviction for receiving stolen property could not coexist with a conviction for owning/operating a chop shop, "where it is clear not only that the same stolen property is involved in both charges, but that the same possession is involved in both charges." (Id. at p. 333.) The Court went on to explain, "That is, if the conviction for receiving stolen property is predicated upon the chop shop's possession of the same property, then the stolen property offense is a lesser included offense of the chop shop violation. Here, however, defendant possessed the stolen vehicle parts from the victim's car, which he later installed into his own car, separately from the chop shop's possession of the same items. . . . . . . Defendant used and possessed some of the vehicle parts from the victim's car (i.e., received stolen property) personally, separate and apart from the chop shop's possession of the parts of the dismantled victim's car. Defendant therefore may properly stand convicted of both violations." (Id. at pp. 333-334.)