People
v.
Rowles

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third DepartmentOct 24, 1991
176 A.D.2d 1074 (N.Y. App. Div. 1991)
176 A.D.2d 1074575 N.Y.S.2d 383

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October 24, 1991

Appeal from the County Court of Ulster County (Vogt, J.).


The only contention presented on appeal is that inculpatory statements given by defendant were the product of an illegal arrest and should have been suppressed. In our view, there was probable cause for defendant's warrantless arrest and we accordingly affirm.

Testimony taken at a suppression hearing showed that, shortly after midnight on December 11, 1988, police officers received a radio transmission indicating that a prowler was trying to gain access to the Orchid Shoppe on Broadway in the City of Kingston, Ulster County. As Detective Wayne Freer approached the scene, he observed an individual wearing an army fatigue jacket and carrying a blue bag walking across Broadway in the direction of the Trailways bus terminal. Freer went to the rear of the building and interviewed two eyewitnesses, who stated that they had seen a male wearing an army fatigue jacket trying to pry open a window and that the individual had just walked across Broadway carrying a blue bag. Freer then went to the Trailways parking lot and observed defendant running down a nearby alleyway wearing an army fatigue jacket. Proceeding into the alley, Freer found a small blue gym bag containing burglar's tools. Freer then radioed ahead to another police officer, who apprehended defendant. After defendant was identified by Freer, he was placed under arrest.

The evidence thus established that defendant fit the general description given by eyewitnesses to the attempted burglary (see, People v. Cumberbatch, 171 A.D.2d 671, lv denied 77 N.Y.2d 993; People v. Riley-James, 168 A.D.2d 740, 742, lv denied 77 N.Y.2d 966; People v. Horsman, 152 A.D.2d 859, 860-861), was seen running down a dark alley where a discarded bag of burglar's tools was found, and was apprehended "in close proximity to the scene of the crime and to the time of its commission" (People v Blount, 143 A.D.2d 924, 925, lv denied 73 N.Y.2d 919; see, People v. Horsman, supra, at 861). Moreover, the record showed that Freer was aware of evidence linking defendant to other unsolved area burglaries and that defendant had a prior burglary conviction (see, People v. Hill, 146 A.D.2d 823, 825, lv denied 73 N.Y.2d 1016). In our view, these circumstances and "the entirety of [Freer's] experience and knowledge * * * justified [the] conclusion that probable cause existed to arrest defendant" (People v. Horsman, supra, at 861). We reject the contention that the information received from the eyewitnesses did not satisfy the Aguilar-Spinelli standard (see, Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108; Spinelli v. United States, 393 U.S. 410). Statements of citizen informants are presumptively reliable and the basis of the witnesses' knowledge was self-evident (see, People v Avincola, 162 A.D.2d 288, 289, lv denied 76 N.Y.2d 937; see also, People v. Morro, 165 A.D.2d 719, 720, lv denied 77 N.Y.2d 964).

Weiss, J.P., Mikoll, Yesawich Jr. and Crew III, JJ., concur. Ordered that the judgment is affirmed.