Appeal from the Adjudication and Order dated May 13, 1976, of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Criminal Division, at No. 76028501. No. 1814 October Term, 1976.
Charles M. Guthrie, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Reading, for appellant.
Charles A. Haddad, Reading, for appellee.
Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ.
On May 13, 1976, the lower court issued an order against the Commonwealth suppressing a statement given by appellee to the police. The Commonwealth has appealed, as is its right. Commonwealth v. Deren, 233 Pa. Super. 373, 337 A.2d 600 (1975).
At 1:30 a.m. on February 26, 1976, Patrolman Byron C. Burns of the Spring Township Police Department responded
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to a call from a citizen by proceeding to the Weller's Tavern parking lot in Reading, Pennsylvania. There, he met the complainant, Durrell Chappell. After a discussion with Chappell, Burns began an investigation of the parking lot and eventually discovered the appellee sitting inside one of the parked automobiles. Appellee was busily attempting to install a tape deck into the dashboard of the car.
Patrolman Burns observed in plain view, several other consumer electronic devices inside the car. Some of these items were identified by Mr. Chappell as belonging to him. Burns read appellee his rights from a card and appellee indicated his understanding of them. Appellee was then placed under arrest. At this time, Burns noticed that appellee's breath smelled of alcohol. His speech was slurred and he had to be helped to the patrol car.
Appellee's car was impounded and towed to the stationhouse. There, Burns prepared an affidavit for a search warrant and a warrant was issued. Appellee was told that his car was going to be searched and he then, for the first time, volunteered to give a statement. Before the search was conducted, Donald W. Schlegel, chief of the Spring Township Police, took appellee's statement in which appellee confessed to the theft in the Weller's Tavern parking lot and also to other previous thefts, one of which is the subject of the present prosecution.*fn1
The lower court suppressed the statement for the purposes of this prosecution, relying on three grounds. First, the court held that Commonwealth v. Collins, 436 Pa. 114, 259 A.2d 160 (1969), requires that a defendant be informed of the nature of the crimes which ...