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Already Open Window Undoes Burglary Charge Theft From Truck Doesn’t Fit Definition, Court Reaffirms

Reaching through the open window of a vehicle to take a cassette player or other equipment does not meet the definition of burglary, the Idaho Court of Appeals says.

The court on Monday unanimously affirmed a lower court ruling dismissing charges against Rubio Alejandro Martinez in a Madison County case.

Martinez was charged with aiding and abetting a burglary.

A vehicle owner who was across the street said he saw a car with Martinez and others in it park behind his truck. One of the men walked to the truck, reached through an open window and emerged with the truck’s pullout cassette player, the owner said. Martinez was later charged as the driver of the vehicle.

A 1963 state law changed the burglary statute to include entry into a “closed vehicle.”

District court accepted Martinez’s argument that entry into a “closed vehicle” is made by opening or breaking through a closed door or window.

“Since the thief in this case had not opened any barrier, but had made entry through an already open window, the district court held that no ‘burglary’ had been shown and the charge against Martinez was dismissed,” the court said.

The state appealed, arguing that “closed vehicle” refers to the character of a vehicle rather than its temporary condition at the time of the illegal entry.