What Is an ''Estes Robbery'' ?

In People v. Estes (1983) 147 Cal. App. 3d 23, the defendant entered a store, put on a new vest and coat, and left the store without paying. A security guard followed and confronted him. The defendant refused to return and brandished a knife. The guard left and returned with the manager, and both were able to get the defendant back into the store. In upholding the robbery conviction, the court explained, "It is sufficient to support the conviction that appellant used force to prevent the guard from retaking the property and to facilitate his escape." (People v. Estes, supra, 147 Cal. App. 3d at pp. 27-28.) On appeal, the defendant challenged his robbery conviction on the basis "the merchandise was not taken from the 'immediate presence' of the security guard." (Id. at p. 27.) The Estes court found: "The evidence establishes that the appellant forceably resisted the security guard's efforts to retake the property and used that force to remove the items from the guard's immediate presence. By preventing the guard from regaining control over the merchandise, defendant is held to have taken the property as if the guard had actual possession of the goods in the first instance. " (People v. Estes, supra, 147 Cal. App. 3d at p. 27.) The court said "a robbery occurs when defendant uses force or fear in resisting attempts to regain the property or in attempting to remove the property from the owner's immediate presence regardless of the means by which defendant originally acquired the property." (Id. at pp. 27-28.) That permutation has become known as an "Estes robbery."