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People v. Smith

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 6, 1981.

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

v.

DAVID L. SMITH, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Piatt County; the Hon. JOHN P. SHONKWILER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied December 16, 1981.

Anonymous telephone "tip."

Police respond and arrest.

Motion to suppress both arrest and evidence.

Motion denied.

We affirm.

FACTS

On December 28, 1979, Bradley Chitwood (an employee of the city of Monticello) reported to the Monticello City Police that during the previous night someone had forced open an overhead door of a building at the Monticello city landfill and had stolen an electric air compressor belonging to the city.

Four days later, at approximately 10:06 p.m. on January 1, 1980, the Piatt County Sheriff's Department received a telephone tip from an anonymous male caller that "the subjects who stole the air compressor from the city storage shed at the dump were at Security Storage at this time with the compressor."

Officers of the Piatt County Sheriff's Department and of the Monticello City Police proceeded to Security Storage, a private enterprise engaged in the business of leasing space to individuals for the storage of personal property and located east of the city of Monticello. Upon their arrival, the officers observed the defendant and two other persons standing near the defendant's car. The car was backed up to the open door of a storage bay leased to one of the persons with the defendant. The trunk of the car was open. One of the officers, Deputy Wisher, identified himself and stated that he was looking for the air compressor that had been stolen from the city landfill. The defendant and his companions then moved in front of the open garage doors, blocking Wisher's view of the interior, and stated that the officers could not enter without a search warrant. Deputy Wisher stepped around the three and shined his flashlight through the open door. In the garage he observed a green air compressor matching the general description of the one stolen.

The officers seized the compressor, placed it in the trunk of a squad car, and transported it to the Piatt County jail. It was later identified as the one stolen.

The defendant and his companions were required to follow the officers to the Piatt County jail. At the jail, Deputy Wisher informed the three that they were at least going to be charged with being in possession of stolen property. Their Miranda rights were then read with Officer Ewers as a witness. Upon questioning, Smith first denied having stolen the compressor, claiming he had found it in a ditch near the landfill. He later confessed that he alone had burglarized the storage shed and that he had stolen the air compressor. The defendant absolved his companions of any knowledge of, or complicity in, his crime. Smith was then incarcerated in the Piatt County jail pending the setting of bail. His companions were released without being charged.

On January 2, 1980, a two-count information was filed in the Piatt County Circuit Court charging Smith with burglary and with theft (under $150). The same day, Smith was arraigned on these charges, a public defender was ...


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