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UNITED STATES v. WILCOX

April 11, 1973

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Norman Laverne WILCOX, a/k/a "Nasty"


Joseph S. Lord, III, Chief Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: LORD, III

Defendant is charged with participating in a robbery of the Continental Bank at 7501 Stenton Avenue, Philadelphia, on February 24, 1972. Defendant has moved to suppress $7,930 in United States currency, alleged by the government to be proceeds of the bank robbery, and certain other items which were seized by F.B.I. agents during a warrantless search of an apartment at 2854 West Oakdale Street, Philadelphia, later that day.

 I. Facts

 A. The Information

 According to the testimony of Special Agent Patrick Kelly, the F.B.I. had learned from an informant that a bank robbery would occur on the afternoon of February 24, 1972 in the northern sector of Philadelphia. The informant also provided the names of two of the participants in the robbery, as well as information as to the modus operandi. The two named participants were Willie Williams and an individual nicknamed "Nasty". *fn1"

 The F.B.I. also had information from the informant that these individuals had been involved in a previous bank robbery on January 31, 1972. The informant stated that a red Chrysler belonging to Willie Williams would be used in the February 24 bank robbery, and that after the robbery, the participants would go to the residence of Jean Holland, Willie Williams' girlfriend, at 2452 Chadwick Street, Philadelphia, in order to divide the proceeds of the robbery. The F.B.I. was also told that the participants would return to their families in order to leave money, and then would leave town immediately.

 B. The Robbery

 At 1:38 p.m. on February 24, 1972, Special Agent Kelly learned that the Continental Bank at 7501 Stenton Avenue had just been robbed. Immediately he and other agents went from the F.B.I. office in the Widener Building directly to the residence of Jean Holland, at 2452 Chadwick Street, in search of Willie Williams and "Nasty".

 C. 2452 Chadwick Street

 The agents arrived in the vicinity of 2452 Chadwick Street at approximately 2:00 p.m., and began a surveillance of the house. Near the house they noticed a red Chrysler automobile which they identified as belonging to Willie Williams. The agents observed Williams leave the house, and arrested him a few blocks away.

 The agents then entered the apartment of Miss Jean Holland at 2452 Chadwick Street and conducted a room-to-room search. As a result of the search, the agents claim to have found a nine millimeter automatic revolver, several thousands of dollars which had been stolen from the bank, and a ski mask. They also learned that "Nasty" had been there that afternoon. Miss Holland also told the agents that Pearl Harris of 417 N. 38th Street, Philadelphia, knew "Nasty".

 D. 417 N. 38th Street

 The agents left Jean Holland's apartment at 2452 Chadwick Street at approximately 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. and proceeded to Pearl Harris's apartment at 417 N. 38th Street in order to develop "Nasty's" identity. The agents arrived at 417 N. 38th Street at approximately 8:00 p.m., and learned from Pearl Harris, identified as "Nasty's" girlfriend, that "Nasty's" true name was Norman Laverne Wilcox.

 Agent Kelly immediately obtained information that gave him reason to believe that Norman Laverne Wilcox resided at 2854 West Oakdale Street, Philadelphia.

 Thus, by 8:00 p.m., the agents had in their possession all the information that was or would be available bearing on the question of probable cause (1) to arrest Wilcox; and (2) to search his home.

 E. 2854 West Oakdale Street

 Agent Kelly and his colleagues left Pearl Harris's house at 417 N. 38th Street at approximately 8:30 p.m., and proceeded to 2854 West Oakdale Street. Agent Kelly and five other agents arrived in the vicinity of 2854 West Oakdale Street at approximately 9:00 p.m. and began a surveillance of the premises which lasted for one-half hour. Three agents were staked in the rear of the building, and Agent Kelly and two other agents were stationed in front.


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