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People v. Earl

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 24, 1980.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

GEORGE T. EARL ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Mercer County; the Hon. DAN B. McNEAL, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE STOUDER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Mr. JUSTICE STOUDER delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendants George Earl and David Wilken were charged by information with burglary. After a jury trial in the circuit court of Mercer County, both defendants were found guilty as charged and sentenced to respective terms of imprisonment of five and seven years. Defendants appeal those convictions, sentences, and an order to make joint restitution for the property involved.

During the early morning of December 12, 1978, the Town and Country Bowling Alley in Aledo, Illinois, was burglarized. The front of the bowling alley's safe was "peeled off" and 17 to 18 hundred dollars was removed. The stolen money included two $100 bills, eight paper-clipped packets of 25 one-dollar bills, and approximately $150 in rolled silver coins. "Cement" from the safe was widely scattered and liquor and vending machine proceeds were also removed. The occurrence took place sometime between midnight and 5 a.m., when the establishment was secured for the night.

Later that day, Aledo Police Chief Hugh McAtee obtained a search warrant for defendant Earl's automobile. At approximately 5 p.m., the vehicle was observed parked at a local restaurant, and defendant Wilken was apparently in the driver's seat and Earl nearby when the warrant was executed. Mercer County Sheriff Norman Thirtyacre observed some white cement-like particles on the front passenger seat of the automobile and placed them in an envelope. Earl was then arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant and Wilken complied with a police request to accompany them to the police station. After they arrived at the station, the vehicle was searched. Found in the glove compartment were 100 single dollar bills, paper-clipped in packets of 25 bills, wrapped rolls of coins, folded bills, and loose change. Wilken was subsequently arrested and was found to be carrying Earl's wallet which contained $186.56, including one $100 bill. Wilken stated that part of the sum was his. A lab report later revealed the particles seized from Earl's automobile came from the bowling alley safe or from another source of natural safe insulation having the same properties.

During the direct examination of Chief McAtee, the following exchange occurred between prosecutor and witness:

"Q. Now, Mr. McAtee, did Mr. Wilken or Mr. Earl, either one or both, give you or anybody else to your knowledge any explanation why this money was in the glove compartment?

A. No.

Q. Was anything said by either one of them why that money was in the car or in the glove compartment?

A. Not that I recall.

Q. Did either one of them say anything to you giving you an explanation of why they had the money?

A. No, not that I can recall. Neither one of them made any explanation for the money in the glove compartment to me.

Q. In other words, Mr. Earl did not say, `Well that money belongs to so and so or it got in there under these circumstances'? Did ...


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