District Court, Salt Lake Department The Honorable Keith A.
Kelly No. 171901573
J. Garland, Attorney for Appellant
D. Reyes, Nathan D. Anderson, and Lindsey L. Wheeler,
Attorneys for Appellee
Michele M. Christiansen Forster authored this Opinion, in
which Judges Kate Appleby and Diana Hagen concurred.
CHRISTIANSEN FORSTER, JUDGE
Eddie A. Salazar was convicted by a jury of burglary and
theft. He now appeals, seeking a new trial. We affirm.
On July 6, 2015, Salazar and his wife (Wife) drove Steve
Young, whom they had just met that day, to a house in
Cottonwood Heights, Utah. When they arrived at the house,
Young got out of the car and knocked on the front door. When
no one answered, Young climbed over the fence to the backyard
and kicked in the basement door. Once inside, Young stole
sunglasses, a money clip, a microcassette recorder, jewelry,
and some medication that he hoped to be painkillers. While
Young was inside the house, a witness (Witness) observed a
car slowly driving up and down the road in front of the
house. Witness noted that the driver had his seat leaning
back and that the car was not in the normal lane of traffic
but was "against the curb." Young then ran from the
side of the house, got in the car, and "told [Salazar]
to hurry up."
Witness saw the car speed up to meet Young as he ran from the
house, noting that the car "sped off" once Young
"jumped in the car." Witness followed the car in
his truck and called the police. Young noticed the truck, and
he suspected that Witness was "probably going to come
and try to get [his] property back." Young first
testified that he told Salazar and Wife that he "stole
some stuff," but he later clarified that he told Salazar
and Wife, "[T]hese guys [in the truck] are going to come
beat me up because I got my stuff out of the house,"
implying that he had retrieved only his own
property. Witness described Salazar's driving as
"erratic" and "reckless," and he
eventually stopped following the car because Salazar
"was speeding . . . faster than what [he] thought was
Salazar then pulled into a nearby gas station. Young handed
Wife the pills that he had just stolen and asked her to throw
them away. Young said he did not tell Wife that they were
stolen or the reason he wanted her to throw them away, just
that he "didn't want them." Surveillance
footage from the gas station showed Young reaching out of the
car and handing something to Wife as she got out of the car.
The footage then showed Wife walk to a trash can and throw
something away. Later that same day, the police recovered
prescription pills-with the name of the homeowner whose house
Young burglarized-from the same gas station trash can
depicted in the surveillance video.
A detective, who heard a report of the burglary, observed a
vehicle with three occupants matching the description given
by dispatch. The detective stopped that vehicle, and Witness
joined the detective to confirm that the car and its three
occupants were those whom Witness had seen fleeing the
burglarized house. After advising them of their
Miranda rights,  the detective interviewed Salazar,
Wife, and Young.
Salazar told the detective that he drove Young to the house,
after which Young "exited the car and was gone for a few
minutes." Salazar said that when Young returned he was
"carrying some items." Salazar said he was unsure
what Young was doing in the house, but he "assumed that
[Young] had stolen something." As they were driving away
from the house, Salazar said he "observed a vehicle that
he believed was following him or chasing him," so
"he then began to drive a little faster in an attempt to
lose the tailing vehicle." Salazar said that they then
stopped at a gas station for fuel.
Wife's account, with the addition of some details,
largely corroborated Salazar's account. Wife referred to
Young as their "friend." Wife confirmed that after
arriving at the gas station, Young handed her some pills,
which she thought belonged to the homeowner and which she
Young initially told the detective that Salazar and Wife had
just picked him up at the gas station, but after being
confronted with Salazar's and Wife's accounts of the
event, Young admitted to breaking into the house and
"looking for items to steal." The State charged
Salazar with one count of burglary and one count of theft.