and that immediately after the robbery it was seen leaving the area at a great rate of speed. One of the teenagers testified that one of the occupants of the car was wearing a green sweater.
The operator of the gas station related that while outside of the building he was approached by two men. One of the men showed a gun, and the operator and the two men proceeded into the building. In the building both of the men pulled out guns and the operator opened the cash register. Bills and change were removed and the change was placed in a right-hand glove which belonged to the operator (T., pp. 66-67). Commonwealth Exhibits 1 and 3 were identified by the operator as resembling the guns used and the glove marked as Commonwealth Exhibit 4 was identified as the glove used to carry the change. The operator further testified that one of the robbers was wearing a "green pull over sweater".
The North Braddock police investigated the robbery and relayed the information concerning the blue station wagon to neighboring police departments. Based on this information, the Swissvale police within an hour after the robbery stopped a blue station wagon, in which relator was one of the occupants. The North Braddock police arrived and the relator and the vehicle
were taken immediately to the North Braddock police station. Lieutenant Wagner of the North Braddock police testified that relator was wearing a green V-neck sweater. Further testimony showed that the vehicle was searched at the police station and in a ventilator under the dashboard two.38 caliber revolvers, a glove full of change and two operator's licenses and other cards bearing the name of the victim of the first robbery were found. These items were admitted into evidence as Commonwealth exhibits.
In the light of the eyewitness identification of the relator, the recognition of the revolvers, the glove full of change, and the personal cards found in the station wagon, and the factor of the green sweater, we are convinced that beyond a reasonable doubt the alleged error committed in the admission of the.38 caliber bullets was harmless.
Relator further claims that there was no probable cause for his arrest and, therefore, his arrest without a warrant was unlawful. A lawful arrest without a warrant can be made if probable cause exists for making it. Probable cause is found to exist where police officers through reliable information have knowledge of facts and circumstances which are sufficient to cause a man of reasonable prudence to believe that a crime has been committed. McCray v. State of Illinois, 386 U.S. 300, 304, 87 S. Ct. 1056, 18 L. Ed. 2d 62 (1967); Ker v. State of California, 374 U.S. 23, 34-35, 83 S. Ct. 1623, 10 L. Ed. 2d 726 (1963).
The information within the knowledge of the Swissvale police furnished the ground for a reasonable belief that relator had been involved in an armed robbery. They had received information by radio concerning the robbery in North Braddock and they were alerted to watch for a light blue compact station wagon containing four Negro occupants. A vehicle answering the description was spotted. The officers verified the information they had and stopped the vehicle. The occupants, one of whom was relator, were taken into custody. We believe that these facts and circumstances form the basis for probable cause and a legal arrest.
A claim is also made by relator that the search of the vehicle at the police station without a warrant was a violation of his constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment. The prohibition against unreasonable search provided by the Fourth Amendment is made applicable to the states by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment. Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S. Ct. 1684, 6 L. Ed. 2d 1081 (1961). The reasonableness of the search is determined on an ad hoc basis as measured by the federal standard. Ker v. State of California, supra. A search can be made without a warrant if conducted incident to a lawful arrest, Ker v. State of California, supra, and is reasonable under the circumstances. Having found that the arrest was lawful, it follows that the search was reasonable and incident to the arrest.
Relator was taken into custody based on information that an armed robbery had been committed. Armed robbery contemplates converted property and the instrumentalities used in commission of the crime. In the circumstances, it was proper to search for these items.
At the time the arrest was originally made, darkness would have prevented any search from being effective; therefore the search at the police station under more favorable conditions was permissible. United States v. Dento, 382 F.2d 361 (3d Cir. 1967). The Pennsylvania courts when confronted with similar facts have held that the search was reasonable. Commonwealth v. Cockfield, 411 Pa. 71, 190 A.2d 898 (1963); Commonwealth v. Czajkowski, 198 Pa.Super. 511, 182 A.2d 298 (1962).
The contention that relator's counsel was not competent is without merit. In re Ernst's Petition, 294 F.2d 556 (3d Cir. 1961); United States ex rel. Peterson v. Russell, 266 F. Supp. 93, 95 (W.D.Pa.1967).
An appropriate order will be entered.