Jeffrey Lavin and Janet Baxendale, both of Tewksbury, Massachusetts have been charged with Receiving a Stolen Motor Vehicle. According to reports in the Lowell Sun, just at the end of last year a car was reported stolen from Crystal News. Later, police from Littleton, Massachusetts reported that that same car was used as a getaway car after a Shoplifting incident. That car was subsequently used to escape a similar Theft Crime in Haverhill and Lavin has been identified as a suspect in the theft case. Just last week, Tewksbury police learned that a car stolen in Chelmsford was parked at Lavin and Baxendale’s home. Police saw the car at that location and arrested the defendants. Right now all charges are pending in the Lowell District Court.
In order to convict someone of Receiving a Stolen Motor Vehicle the district attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had control over the car, the it was stolen, that he knew or had reason to believe that it was stolen and that there was an intention to deprive the owner of the car. Massachusetts laws state that the person who actually stole the car cannot be legally responsible for the crime of Receiving a Stolen Motor Vehicle. This probably explains why both were charged with the same crime. It is unlikely that the prosecution can establish who stole the car so they are left with receiving as a sole mechanism for prosecution. Assuming however that Lavin stole the car then how is it that Baxendale is at all accountable for receiving. How is the district attorney going to show that she had control over the vehicle. As to her this might be a difficult case to prosecute.
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