THE COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA
All the Justices
W. LEMONS CHIEF JUSTICE
appeal, we consider whether the Court of Appeals of Virginia
("Court of Appeals") erred when it determined that
the evidence presented at the trial of Andrew Lamont Spratley
("Spratley") in the Circuit Court of Loudoun County
("circuit court") was sufficient to affirm his
conviction for felony destruction of property.
Facts and Proceedings
Evidence at Trial
jury indicted Spratley for felony destruction of property of
a value of $1, 000 or more, in violation of Code §
18.2-137, based on his alleged destruction of an electronic
grocery store scale. Spratley pleaded not guilty and a
one-day bench trial was held.
trial, Katey Stanbridge ("Stanbridge"), an asset
protection specialist for a Wegmans grocery store in
Sterling, Virginia, testified that on January 21, 2016 she
observed Spratley and a female companion having "a
strong discussion" on the store's camera system.
When asked if Spratley and his companion were arguing,
Stanbridge explained that the camera system did not record
sound, but that "[h]ands were moving around" and
"[i]t seemed to be a big discussion." During the
discussion, Stanbridge saw Spratley
"deliberate[ly]" "push over" a
"scale," causing it to "hit the floor"
and "shatter" into "multiple pieces."
The scale was unrepairable due to a "software
to Stanbridge, prior to breaking, the scale "was working
correctly" and customers were using it to "print
off labels." The broken scale, a "KH-100
Bizerba," was "no longer being manufactured."
As a result, Wegmans "had to replace it with a newer
model, a Mettler Toledo," which cost $4, 090. Stanbridge
explained that another Wegmans employee, Vince Fragassi,
ordered the Mettler Toledo using "STARS," an
"internal program" that Wegmans uses for "all
of its ordering." After an order is placed in STARS,
Wegmans' "supplier in New York" "sends 
the merchandise." Stanbridge stated that Fragassi orders
"all of our scales" and "would know if
Bizerbas are available or not." In the STARS request for
the Mettler Toledo, which was admitted into evidence over
Spratley's objection, Fragassi wrote "[n]o Bizerba
scales available to replace the scale that was damaged."
further testified that the Mettler Toledo "work[s] the
exact same way," has "the same design and
layout," and "[p]erforms the same functions"
as the Bizerba. She added that the Mettler Toledo is
"just a different model." When asked if the Mettler
Toledo "essentially did replace [the Bizerba] exactly,
just a different name plate," Stanbridge answered
the Commonwealth rested, Spratley moved to strike the
evidence, arguing that the Commonwealth failed to establish
the value of the Bizerba was $1, 000 or more, as required for
a felony conviction under Code § 18.2-137. Spratley
claimed that the Commonwealth was required to prove the
"fair market value" of the Bizerba at the time of
its destruction. Because the Commonwealth did not present
"evidence of how old the scale was," "how much
it [had] depreciated," and the original purchase price,
Spratley maintained that the Commonwealth had failed to meet
the statutory threshold for a felony conviction and asked the
court to "proceed as a misdemeanor."
Commonwealth responded that if Spratley was charged with
grand larceny, it would be required to prove the fair market
value of the Bizerba. However, the Commonwealth asserted that
under Code § 18.2-137, it could prove "the amount
of loss caused by [the] destruction" of property by
establishing its "fair market replacement value."
The Commonwealth acknowledged that the "value of the
[Bizerba] scale may very well have been under the $4, 00
that the new [Mettler Toledo] cost," but contended that
"[w]hat matters is how much [the Bizerba] costs to
replace." Claiming that its evidence established that
the cost of the Mettler Toledo was more than the $1, 000
threshold, and that the Mettler Toledo was "the exact
same scale" as the Bizerba "other than the name on
it," the Commonwealth argued that it presented
"more than enough evidence  to overcome the motion to
countered that while Code § 18.2-137 permitted the
Commonwealth to prove the value of destroyed property by
establishing its "fair market replacement value,"
the Mettler Toledo was "not a replacement."
Spratley asserted that the Mettler Toledo was "a
different scale" and no evidence showed it was "not
an upgrade." Spratley also argued that the Commonwealth
"did not produce evidence that there was no [Bizerba]
KH-100 available." Rather, the "evidence before the
court" established that "Wegmans went to  their
one supplier," and that "one supplier did not have
a Bizerba KH-100."
circuit court denied the motion to strike. The circuit court
explained that "the evidence here is there is no fair
market replacement value for the Bizerba scale because
it's not available. It doesn't exist."
Consequently, Wegmans "paid the replacement value for a
different make, model with the same functionality as the
Bizerba scale that looked the same, had the same design
layout, and worked the same way." Based on this
evidence, the court determined that whether a scale of the
"same make and model [w]as ...