Robbery by An Instrument Which Appears to Be a Firearm

In State v. Thompson, 297 N.C. 285, 254 S.E.2d 526 (1979), a victim testified that during a robbery of One Hour Valet Cleaners in Raleigh, North Carolina one defenant held a shotgun to her forehead. Id. at 288, 254 S.E.2d at 527. On cross-examination, the victim testified that she "did not know whether the shotgun was a real gun, a fake gun, a toy gun or what kind of gun, it was metal and did not look like a toy." Id. The Supreme Court held that when a person perpetrates a robbery by brandishing an instrument which appears to be a firearm, or other dangerous weapon, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the law will presume the instrument to be what his conduct represents it to be -- a firearm or other dangerous weapon. Id. at 289, 254 S.E.2d at 528.