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People v. Lynch

JUNE 10, 1969.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES J. MEJDA, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.


The defendant, William A. Lynch, was indicted for armed robbery. In a jury trial, he was convicted of robbery. After his oral post-trial motions were denied, judgment was entered. Following a hearing in aggravation and mitigation, the defendant was sentenced to nine to fifteen years in the State Penitentiary. He appeals.

This case involves a robbery which occurred in an IGA store located at 6407 West 79th Street in Oak Lawn, Illinois. It is undisputed that the crime occurred at approximately 7:45 p.m. on October 28, 1966, when there were no customers present. About $250 was taken from the cash register. The money taken by the sole robber included currency and change. All the change was wrapped in regular quarter, dime, nickel and penny bank rolls, which had the name "Cherut, by Harris Trust & Savings Bank" stamped on them. Five rolls of change were taken. This was the testimony of Mrs. Joan Kolodziejek, an eyewitness to the crime and the cashier at the IGA store.

The State had marked as People's Exhibit 1 for identification, an empty coin wrapper or roll. Mrs. Kolodziejek identified it as a wrapper for quarters. The witness went on to say that this quarter wrapper had the name "Cherut, by Harris Trust & Savings Bank" stamped on it; it was in her cash register on October 28, 1966; and it was taken by the man who committed the robbery on that date.

Mrs. Kolodziejek also observed and remembered some of the robber's physical characteristics and his clothing. The eyewitness stated that there was dried blood about his nostrils and a cut behind his right ear with dried blood there also. In addition, the robber wore a plaid shirt, dark black or blue pants, and a dark black or blue jacket. She then identified the defendant in the courtroom as the man who had robbed the store on October 28, 1966. On that date, the store manager, Henry Easter, was also present. Both Mrs. Kolodziejek and Easter were told by the robber to walk to the rear of the store or be shot. In time, they saw that they were alone. Easter immediately called the Sheriff's Police. About fifteen minutes later, Mrs. Kolodziejek saw the defendant again. The Sheriff's Police had arrested him and brought him in front of the IGA store in a police car.

On cross-examination, Mrs. Kolodziejek testified that she never saw a gun during the commission of the offense. She also was never shown a photograph of the defendant at any time. This witness had never seen the defendant before and did not know that he lived in the neighborhood. She did tell the police that the robber was between 5' 7" and 5' 10" in height, and did give them a physical description shortly after the crime had occurred. Approximately fifteen minutes later, the police returned to the store and told Mrs. Kolodziejek that they had a suspect in the police car. Mr. Easter left the store first, viewed the suspect, and returned but did not speak to Mrs. Kolodziejek. She then went to the police car, looked in, and saw two men sitting in the rear seat: Officer Greene, who is a Negro and a member of the Sheriff's Police, and the defendant, a Caucasian, whom she then and there identified as the man who had robbed the store. She went to the police station later that evening and again identified the defendant as the robber.

Continuing, Mrs. Kolodziejek stated that immediately prior to the robbery, she had run out of change. Mr. Easter then gave her one roll of quarters; one roll of nickels; a roll of dimes; and two rolls of pennies. She did not have an opportunity to open these wrappers before the robbery occurred. All the coin wrappers had stamped on them: "Cherut, by Harris Trust & Savings Bank." The cashier explained that Cherut is a very good customer of the store and is a coin collector who picks up the store's loose coins in exchange for wrapped or rolled coins which he apparently obtains from the bank. Mrs. Kolodziejek did not know if Cherut exchanged rolled coins with anyone other than the IGA store. Earlier on the evening of the robbery, this witness saw Cherut hand Easter, the store manager, rolls of coins. She received some of these rolls from Easter shortly before the crime occurred.

On redirect examination, Mrs. Kolodziejek stated that the store was fully illuminated at the time the crime occurred. During the robbery, the defendant did not wear a mask and was, at times, within six to twelve inches of this witness. She saw his face and was able to face him directly.

Henry Easter, the store manager, also testified for the State as an eyewitness and corroborated much of Mrs. Kolodziejek's testimony. He also noticed that the robber had bloodstained nostrils, a laceration behind his right ear and was wearing a plaid shirt, dark blue pants, and a dark jacket. He too pointed out the defendant in the courtroom as the robber and identified People's Exhibit 1 as the coin wrapper or roll which he had obtained from Cherut. The wrapper had Cherut's name on it. Easter often received rolled change from Cherut in exchange for the store's loose coins. The wrappers or rolls always had Cherut's name on them.

On cross-examination, Easter stated that after the robbery, he gave a description of the robber to the police in which he said the culprit was 5' 6", weighed approximately 140 pounds, and had light hair. Approximately fifteen minutes later, the Sheriff's Police returned with a suspect. Easter identified the defendant, sitting in the rear seat of the police car, as the robber. There were two Caucasians sitting in the back seat when he looked into the car and made his identification. The defendant still had blood under his nostrils. In conclusion, Easter stated that he was positive that People's Exhibit 1 was the quarter wrapper which was taken from his store by the robber on October 28, 1966. Although Easter admitted that neither he nor Mrs. Kolodziejek placed any identifying marks of their own on the wrappers, he did say that the IGA store received its rolled or wrapped coins from no other source than Mr. Cherut, who came into the store approximately three times a week for that purpose. Easter did not know if Cherut was a coin collector or brought coins to any other stores in the area.

Officer Marvin Boykin, a member of the Cook County Sheriff's Police, stated that on October 28, 1966, he was sent to the IGA store to investigate an armed robbery. He interviewed Mrs. Kolodziejek and Mr. Easter, received a description of the robber, and put out a radio broadcast. In concluding his testimony on direct examination, Boykin examined People's Exhibit 1, the coin wrapper or roll, and stated he had recovered it from the Defendant's pocket in the police station. He and Officer Greene had initialed it at that time.

On cross-examination, Officer Boykin stated that the two eyewitnesses in the store gave him a physical description of the robber and described his clothing. Boykin remained with them until the police appeared with the defendant. He then took Mrs. Kolodziejek and Mr. Easter out to view the accused and asked them if they could identify the suspect as being the robber. The defendant, a Caucasian, was sitting in the back seat of the police car with Officer Greene, a Negro. The accused was then taken to the police station where he was fingerprinted and photographed. Officer Boykin noticed there that the defendant had blood under his nose and around his right ear.

Officer Earl Greene, a patrolman with the Cook County Sheriff's Police, testified that on October 28, 1966, while on duty in a police vehicle, he heard a description of an alleged armed robber. Shortly thereafter, he arrested a man fitting this description. The arrest was made about a block and a half from the IGA store. Officer Greene then pointed out the defendant in the courtroom as the man he arrested. At the time of the arrest, according to Greene, the defendant was wearing a dark blue jacket, a checkered shirt, and had a small scar behind his right ear in addition to dried blood on his right cheek. Later, at the police station, the defendant emptied his pockets. Greene identified People's Exhibit 1, a coin roll or wrapper, and People's Exhibit 2, United States currency and loose coins, as having been found on the defendant's person in the police station.

On cross-examination, Officer Greene said that People's Exhibit 2 contained $114 in currency and $21.10 in loose coins. The currency included four (4) $10 bills; nine (9) $5 bills; and twenty-nine (29) $1 bills. The coins taken from the accused included $11.75 in quarters; $6.30 in dimes; $2.30 in nickels; and 75 cents in pennies. The quarters were not rolled but were loose. Officer Greene stated that he had known the defendant for approximately five or six years and knew that the accused lived in the neighborhood of the robbed store. The defendant was arrested less than a block from where his parents lived. He did not attempt to flee and was not searched until later in the evening at the police station. No gun was found. He was arrested approximately ten minutes after Greene had received a police call describing the alleged armed robber. At the time of his arrest, the accused was wearing a plaid shirt, dark and light checks, according to Officer Greene. The defendant was then taken to the scene of the robbery. When they reached ...

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