By Abigail Henderson and Joselin Hernandez
A man and a woman allegedly stole tools and other items from a Home Depot in Woodland this past November and were subsequently charged with grand theft and conspiracy to commit a felony.
The defendants, Matthew Sitkin and Danielle Ogilvie, were seen on a Home Depot store surveillance tape allegedly placing items in their shopping cart and exiting without any payment. The defendants were not arrested on the day this occurred, but rather a couple of weeks later.
The first witness in this preliminary case was Officer Mark Gojkovich, a sworn peace officer in Woodland. He was dispatched to Home Depot on Dec. 5, 2019, for a reported theft.
A manager at Home Depot reported he heard and saw the theft on the night of November 11, and a Loss Prevention Officer confirmed this event on video surveillance after review. All information was then given to Officer Gojkovich.
Officer Gojkovich struggled to give his testimony clearly and concisely—a battle between the prosecution and the defense’s claims of lack of foundation and relevance in questioning the witness clouded the officer’s testimony.
The witness did testify to watching the surveillance tape and identifying the suspects through other body-camera footage. He also pointed out the suspects in the courtroom today, referring to both defendants in the process.
In cross-examination, the defense argued that video surveillance provided by the prosecution was not sufficient to determine grand theft. This, in addition to the lack of proper investigation from Home Depot employees, allegedly made much of the case invalid.
The defense continued with the video surveillance that indicated one of the defendants, Mr. Sitkin, properly bought an item and exited by showing his receipt to the Home Depot worker.
The defense claimed that the video surveillance only viewed the situation from one angle and the witness, Officer Gojkovich, merely saw clips rather than the whole picture. They argued for a misdemeanor felony, rather than grand theft, due to the skewed estimation of the cost of items compared to the accurate amount in the alleged theft.
The court indicated that both charges were supported by sufficient evidence and the trial is set to begin on Feb. 18, 2020, at 10 am.