We often discuss criminal and civil cases that take a turn for the bizarre. An Oklahoma case is such a standout after Tulsa police cited a curious identification element in the arrest of Sharon Carr: “Cheeto dust” found in her teeth. A woman had fled a home after a burglary but left a bottle of water and an open bag of Cheetos. It seemed to confirm to confirm the longtime slogan of the company that “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Cheesy.” However, despite going viral as a story, there was a tad more than just Cheetos dust on this collar.
Sharon Carr was arrested on a first-degree burglary, according to Tulsa Police. However, the police did not go looking for Cheeto dust. The police arrived at the house after the mother called 911 and said that a woman had pried a screen off her window and entered. Almost immediately however, Carr emerged from the shadows according to KTUL. The mother then identified her as the burglar.
So the Cheetos evidence makes better press copy and then a prosecution case.
The more substantive question is whether just entering but not taking anything would be first degree burglary, or if she only stole the Cheetos. The answer is that it is still first degree burglary.
Under state law (and many other states), it is entry in an occupied home with intent to commit a crime that satisfies the elements for first degree burglary:
Every person who breaks into and enters the dwelling house of another, in which there is at the time some human being, with intent to commit some crime therein, either:
1. By forcibly bursting or breaking the wall, or an outer door, window, or shutter of a window of such house or the lock or bolts of such door, or the fastening of such window or shutter; or
2. By breaking in any other manner, being armed with a dangerous weapon or being assisted or aided by one or more confederates then actually present; or
3. By unlocking an outer door by means of false keys or by picking the lock thereof, or by lifting a latch or opening a window, is guilty of burglary in the first degree.
R.L.1910, § 2611. Amended by Laws 1979, c. 43, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1979.
In this case, the window screen was pried open to accomplish entry into an occupied home. That is sufficient regardless of whether she brought or obtained the Cheetos at the crime scene.