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United States v. Vanover

January 5, 1965

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIAM VANOVER AND VERNON VANOVER, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



Author: Schnackenberg

Before SCHNACKENBERG, KNOCH and KILEY, Circuit Judges.

SCHNACKENBERG, Circuit Judge.

William Vanover and Vernon Vanover, defendants, have appealed from a judgment of conviction by the district court, following a jury trial on an indictment charging violations of 18 U.S.C.A. ยงยง 371, 2312 and 2313, in conspiring to transport, receive, conceal, store, barter, sell and dispose in interstate commerce of stolen motor vehicles, knowing the same to have been stolen.

There was evidence tending to prove a conspiracy, as well as the overt acts charged in the indictment. That evidence tended to show that defendants, doing business as AAA Auto Salvage and Wrecking Company, in East St. Louis, Illinois, from April, 1962, made auto salvage the principal part of their business. In November 1962, Arvester Hawkins and Hollis Freeman operated a garage in St. Louis, Missouri, at which time Newton Bailey, Jr., previously an employee of William Vanover, came with another man to defendants' office, where a conference was held. Later, Bailey brought Hawkins to William Vanover and they talked about bringing auto parts. At that time, Hawkins worked in St. Louis dismantling automobiles which he had bought for $75 to $100 each. The cars were in good running condition.

On December 10, 1962, Hawkins was driving a truck loaded with dismantled parts of a Chevrolet car, except for the transmission. He picked up Bailey and they drove to AAA Auto Salvage. They arrived in the evening and the truck was unloaded. Hawkins talked with William Vanover, who gave to Hawkins a check payable to Bailey.

After unloading the parts of this Chevrolet, William Vanover told his employee, Robert Zimmerman, to put them all over the lot.

Hawkins made a second car delivery on December 17, 1962 and a check in payment was made in the maiden name of Gloria Harris and was given to her at her home in East St. Louis by Hawkins. Hawkins asked her if he could use her name since he did not have any identification. Hawkins came to the house with Hollis Freeman. Mrs. Harris cashed the check next day, while Hawkins and Freeman waited in the car.

At the second delivery, Hawkins told William Vanover that he "needed cash to pay the guys that got the cars, because they wouldn't want to wait until he cashed the check the next day." He also said in the presence of Zimmerman and Bill Fosnock, another employee of the Vanovers, that he was paying $100 to the men who got the cars for him.

After the delivery on December 17, 1962, two doors, the front end, transmission, engine, rear section, tires and wheels were sold to various customers.

William Vanover explained to Fosnock that the parts received were scattered in different places in the yard and covered with the floor matting out of old cars "to cover them up" and one day when a part was not covered, William said "Cover that stuff; it is hot." Fosnock testified that William also said "Cover it back up to make it look like a dog house; and if anybody asks you we keep dogs in them" and "Make it look like a dog house."

A Galaxie Ford was stolen from Otis Jones in December 1962. On December 31, 1962 the rear end, engine, transmission and rear clip of such a car were delivered by Hawkins to the Vanovers and a check was made by William Vanover to Robert Hadley, who accompanied Hawkins from St. Louis with the parts.

The record before us contains other similar transactions occurring on and prior to March 7, 1963. We will not encumber this opinion by setting them out in detail.

William Vanover on March 12, 1963 learned that Fosnock and Zimmerman had talked to an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and he then instructed his employees in the salvage yard to load a truck with automobile parts that he had purchased from Hawkins, and defendants directed Mark Vanover, a brother of defendants, to take the truck to Mark's home at Sparta, Illinois. William stated that Vernon was to then take the truck from Sparta to Chester, Illinois, where their father ran an auto salvage yard and that the parts would be sold at that location. William supervised the loading of the truck in the yard. While Vernon Vanover did not help load the truck, he did arrive at the yard just before it pulled away and discussed with William the truck's going to Sparta.

By using a wrecker, Mark pulled the truck to Sparta. Following the service of a search warrant on Mark, special agent McKinstray of the FBI made an inventory of the parts on the truck and took them to a public warehouse.

On March 19, 1963, St. Louis police officer Moynihan saw Hawkins cutting up a car and arrested him. He was found guilty but has not joined in this appeal.

Various witnesses testified as to their identification of cars or parts of cars which they had owned and ...


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