Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Aug. T., 1973, Nos. 632 and 633, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William Everett.
Anne F. Johnson, Richard Farber, and John W. Packel, Assistant Defenders, and Vincent J. Ziccardi, Defender, for appellant.
Neil Kitrosser, Mark Sendrow, and Steven H. Goldblatt, Assistant District Attorneys, Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Price, J.
[ 234 Pa. Super. Page 251]
The only issue raised on this appeal is whether physical evidence introduced against appellant at trial was inadmissible as the fruit of an illegal arrest and subsequent search. Appellant contends that the evidence should have been suppressed because the information supplied to the police did not provide the requisite probable cause.
The facts, as found by the lower court following the suppression hearing, reveal that in the early morning hours (approximately 12:25 a.m.) of July 29, 1973, a Philadelphia policeman and his partner received a radio call which indicated that a "strong arm robbery" had just taken place at 2601 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The suspects were two black males, one of whom was wearing a white T-shirt. The suspects were believed to have escaped by automobile.
At approximately 12:35 a.m., less than ten minutes later, the officers saw two black males at 888 North 26th Street -- a short distance from the robbery. The policemen noticed that they were the only two blacks on the block and that one of the men had on a white T-shirt. Furthermore, one was pounding on the door of the house and the other was lounging half in and half out of a dark green Monte Carlo automobile with out-of-state plates. As the police approached, the two men began to walk toward the officers. When they were within twelve to fifteen feet of each other, the officers heard someone
[ 234 Pa. Super. Page 252]
from inside the house yell that the suspects did not belong there.
One officer testified that as he approached the car, he saw the butt of a gun on the console of the front seat. He retrieved the weapon, and found it was a tear gas gun. He further stated that he requested identification and was given a North Carolina registration card to the car. The card listed the license number as North Carolina DJA-396 and the appellant as the owner. The officer put the card in his pocket so that he could complete a police department form concerning the stop, and then informed the suspects of the robbery. He asked the men if they would submit to a view by the victim, who had been taken to Hahneman Hospital. The suspects denied any part in the robbery, but agreed to go to the hospital.
At the hospital, the officers were contacted by Officer DiSiro, who told them that additional information had been furnished by Margaret Compton, a resident of 769 North 27th Street, a dwelling around a corner from the site of the robbery. Ms. Compton had been sitting on her porch during the early morning hours of July 29, 1973, when the robbery occurred. She noticed a dark tan or dark green automobile with an out-of-state license plate, numbered DJA-396, speeding on 27th Street. The driver of the car first sped down 27th Street, then backed halfway up the block, again proceeded forward, and then drove over the sidewalks on the right-hand side of the street. The driver of the car, a black male, and his companion, also a black male, finally parked the car and walked in the direction of 2601 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Ms. Compton characterized these actions as "suspicious" and called the police to investigate. She testified that there had been "a rash ...