APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Macon County; the Hon. RODNEY
A. SCOTT, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied November 22, 1978.
Dortch was found guilty of theft (over $150) and sentenced to prison for 1 to 3 years. The uncontroverted facts at defendant's bench trial revealed the following: Due to a trucker's strike in the Macon County area, R & W Liquor Store (R & W) made arrangements for defendant to transport beer from two local warehouses to the liquor store. Dortch proceeded to the warehouses and loaded the beer onto his truck but did not return to R & W. Instead, he drove to his home in Jennings, Missouri, and stored the stolen merchandise (20 barrels and 20 cases!) in the basement of his home.
On appeal, Dortch does not question his guilt or raise issues involving his conduct. Rather, he only attacks the conduct of St. Louis County police officers, Macon County police officers, and the trial judge.
First, Dortch contends that the St. Louis County (Missouri) police officers' warrantless search of his home was illegal and consequently any evidence found as a result of that search must be suppressed. We do not agree.
At the motion to suppress, St. Louis County police detectives testified that they had gone to the Dortch residence upon the basis of information they had received from a teletype dispatch sent by Macon County authorities. The dispatch related that Dortch had been involved in the theft of a large amount of barreled and canned beer.
Upon arrival at defendant's home, the detectives knocked on the door, but received no answer. Neighbors, however, informed the officers that Dortch and a female companion had entered the residence about 15 minutes prior to the officers' arrival. This information prompted the detectives to contact the Jennings Police Department which dispatched two police officers to assist the St. Louis County officers.
The police officers resumed knocking on the door and when no response ensued, they forced the door open and entered the Dortch residence. No question is raised concerning the police officers' initial entry into the home. All four officers testified that defendant came down the stairs and said, "Don't shoot, the beer's in the basement." The St. Louis County detectives then escorted Dortch into the living room while the two Jennings police officers proceeded upstairs and brought Dortch's two companions into the living room. The two county detectives both testified that Dortch and his two companions were read their Miranda rights ...