TURNAGE, Chief Justice.
Duane Robert Larson appeals from his conviction of burglary and theft (misdemeanor) in a jury trial in the District Court for the Ninth Judicial District, Teton County. We affirm.
1. Did the District Court err by converting Count II from a charge of felony theft to a charge of misdemeanor theft?
2. Was sufficient proof of ownership of the property presented?
3. Was the jury properly instructed on the offense of theft?
4. Was the jury properly instructed on accomplice testimony?
In October 1985 a quonset shed on the Luinstra farm was broken into and a Craftsman tool chest, battery charger, and various tools were stolen. The crime remained unsolved until, two years later, Larson's wife and teenage stepson reported to a county deputy sheriff that Larson and the stepson had stolen a tool chest out of the Luinstra's shed. Larson was charged with the offense in February 1988.
At trial, the stepson recanted his statement to the deputy sheriff. He said he had lied because he was angry with Larson. However, Larson's wife's uncle testified that sometime in 1986, Larson had sold him a Craftsman tool chest, some tools, and a battery charger. These items were placed into evidence. The uncle testified that Larson had told him that he got the tool chest from his father, that he had found the tools in various places, and that he bought the battery charger from a pawnshop. Mike Luinstra identified the tool chest as the farm's. Sam Luinstra identified several of the tools and the battery charger as identical to those which had been stolen.
At the end of trial, the judge reduced the theft charge from felony to misdemeanor, based on the evidence concerning the value of the items stolen. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on both counts. Larson was sentenced to a term of ten years, based in part upon his previous criminal record.
Did the District Court err by converting Count II from a charge of felony theft to a charge of misdemeanor theft?
As stated above, the court reduced this charge after receiving evidence of the value of the items taken. Larson argues that after it reduced the theft charge to a misdemeanor, the court was no longer within its jurisdiction because the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor is one year under § 45-1-205(2)(b), MCA. The crime occurred in October 1985 and the information was filed against Larson on February 17, 1988.
As a general rule, a defendant may not be convicted of a lesser included offense when the statute of limitations has run on that offense but not on the larger offense charged. See, Criminal Law Commission Comments, § 45-1-205, MCA. However, in this case, no objection was made in the lower court to reduction of the theft charge to a misdemeanor, nor was objection made to the instruction on misdemeanor theft. The question then becomes whether it is too late for Larson to bring this claim. The State points out that this Court has categorized statutes of limitation as a defense which is waived if not raised before conviction. State v. Atlas (1926), 75 Mont. 547, 244 P. 477. But, this Court has more recently held that the statute of limitations is a jurisdictional issue. Milanovich v. Milanovich (1982), 201 Mont. 332, 334, 655 P.2d 963, 964, aff'd after remand, 215 Mont. 367, 697 P.2d 927. Therefore, § 46-20-701(2), MCA, governs.
The statute requires both that the error was prejudicial to defendant's guilt or punishment and that condition (a), (b), or (c) was met. Larson has not presented any argument that his claim qualifies under (a), (b), or (c) as one not required to have been raised at trial. We conclude that this claim is precluded because it is raised for the first time on appeal.
Was sufficient proof of ownership of the property presented?
Larson contends that ownership was not sufficiently proven because of the sloppiness of the State's proof on whether the stolen items belonged to Mike Luinstra, Sam Luinstra (Mike's father), or the corporation, Sam Luinstra & Sons, Inc. The State argues that proof of possession was sufficient.
State v. Johnson (1982), 199 Mont. 211, 217, 646 P.2d 507, 511. We hold that sufficient proof of ownership of the stolen property was made in the testimony of Sam and Mike Luinstra that the stolen property was possessed by them at their farm.
Was the jury properly instructed on the offense of theft?
Larson objects to Instruction No. 15:
Larson's objection is that the instruction is a comment on the evidence in that it assumes Sam and Mike Luinstra were the owners of the property and that the State proved that specific property had been taken.
Larson's argument is without merit. The sentence after "First" in Instruction No. 15 gave the jury the task of determining whether the State had proven that Sam and Mike Luinstra were the owners of the property. The sentence after "Second" gave the jury the task of determining whether the State had proven that the specific property had been taken. The next-tolast sentence set forth the requirement that the State must prove each element of its case beyond a reasonable doubt. We hold that the court did not err in giving Instruction No. 15.
Was the jury properly instructed on accomplice testimony?
Larson argues that the jury was not adequately instructed on what corroboration is and what is required for corroboration of an accomplice's testimony. The jury was given the following instruction regarding the testimony of the accomplice, Larson's stepson:
This instruction is virtually identical to Instruction No. 1-012, Montana Criminal Jury Instructions. Paragraph 4 addresses the definition of corroboration. It accurately reflects the law as summarized in State v. Case (1980), 190 Mont. 450, 455-56, 621 P.2d 1066, 1070. We hold that the jury was adequately instructed on accomplice testimony.
HARRISON, HUNT, McDONOUGH and WEBER, JJ., concur.