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decided: March 16, 1979.


No. 1963 October Term, 1976, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Trial Division, Philadelphia County, Imposed on Indictment 1084, August Term, 1975.


John W. Packel, Assistant Public Defender, Chief, Appeals Div., Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert W. Lawler, Assistant District Attorney, Chief, Appeals Div., Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Jacobs, President Judge, and Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, Spaeth, Hester and Wieand, JJ. Jacobs, former President Judge did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Cercone

[ 264 Pa. Super. Page 220]

The instant appeal arises from appellant's conviction, following a jury trial, for robbery for which he received a sentence of six to twelve years in prison. Appellant's sole contention on appeal is that the jury's verdict was the product of evidence which was the fruit of an illegal arrest. We disagree with this contention and will affirm the judgment of sentence. The relevant facts are as follows.

On July 14, 1975, at approximately 8:15 P.M., a man came into Candido's Lounge on Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia and sat down on a stool at the bar. He asked the barmaid on duty, Yvonne Edmondson, to give him twenty dollars from the cash register. When she refused, the man threatened to hit her with a revolver he brandished. The man then went around the bar to the cash register, removed its contents, estimated to be $156.00, and left the bar. Ms. Edmondson immediately called the police.

Within minutes, Officer William Baker arrived at the scene and Ms. Edmondson provided an account of the robbery. She described the culprit to officer Baker as being a "Negro male, short bush hair, red shirt and dark pants."*fn1 As Officer Baker left the lounge, a man standing outside called the officer aside. According to Baker the man said "he was standing inside the bar. He knew who robbed the bar and the person who robbed the bar just went into the Bird Cage Lounge." Officer Baker did not ask this witness his name or address, but, accompanied by a fellow officer Baker went directly to the Bird Cage Lounge, less than one block from Candido's Lounge. Upon entering the Bird

[ 264 Pa. Super. Page 221]

Cage, Officer Baker saw a man who fit the description Ms. Edmondson had provided and placed him under arrest. A patdown revealed no weapons, but Ms. Edmondson positively identified appellant as the culprit when Baker returned him to Candido's. Thereupon, a search of his person disclosed $151.00 in cash in his front, shirt pocket. The man arrested was appellant, Richard Hartley.

Appellant contends, of course, that his arrest was illegal because Officer Baker did not have probable cause to believe that the man he saw in the Bird Cage Lounge was the man who had robbed Candido's Lounge, less than one block away only ten minutes earlier. Generally speaking, appellant relies on the principles announced in Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108, 84 S.Ct. 1509, 12 L.Ed.2d 723 (1964) and Spinelli v. United States, 393 U.S. 410, 89 S.Ct. 584, 21 L.Ed.2d 637 (1969). More particularly, however, appellant contends that our Supreme Court's decisions in Commonwealth v. Brooks, 468 Pa. 547, 364 A.2d 652 (1976); Commonwealth v. Strohl, 458 Pa. 64, 326 A.2d 314 (1974); Commonwealth v. Daniels, 455 Pa. 552, 317 A.2d 237 (1974); and Commonwealth v. Berrios, 437 Pa. 338, 263 A.2d 342 (1970) mandate the conclusion that his arrest was illegal. However, in none of those cases are the facts upon which the police relied for probable cause more than remotely similar to those in the instant case.

Instead, we find Commonwealth v. Mamon, 449 Pa. 249, 297 A.2d 471 (1972) more nearly on point. In Mamon a woman was bludgeoned to death in her home. Another woman, who appeared at the scene of the crime during its progress, was beaten nearly to death by a person wielding a hammer and dressed as a man. Two anonymous witnesses reported seeing appellant, Mary Mamon, disguised as a man entering the decedent's home through the garage approximately at the time of the murder and nearly fatal assault. In addition, the surviving victim knew Mary Mamon and had recognized her as the assailant before being battered unconscious. A doctor testified, however, that this victim's physical condition at the time she communicated to the police was

[ 264 Pa. Super. Page 222]

    such that she "was not capable of rational reasoning." The Supreme Court concluded that the anonymous tips lacked sufficient indicia of reliability to establish probable cause, and that the probative value of the surviving victim's account was dubious because of her condition. Nevertheless, the Court concluded that there was probable cause: "[A]lthough the statement of the two unidentified alleged eyewitnesses alone, or the identification of [the surviving victim] alone, arguably may not be sufficient to establish probable cause, acting together, each complements the other sufficiently to produce the reliability necessary to create probable cause." Id., 449 Pa. at 260, 297 A.2d at 477.

In the instant case, even if we assume for the sake of argument that Officer Baker could not have arrested appellant on the basis of Ms. Edmondson's description alone,*fn2 and that the unidentified witness' statement lacked the necessary indicia of reliability to support probable cause;*fn3 taken together the two statements provided more than enough evidence to establish probable cause. When Officer Baker arrived at the Bird Cage Lounge and found a man precisely fitting Ms. Edmondson's description in the very place the

[ 264 Pa. Super. Page 223]

    anonymous informant claimed he would be, there was probable cause to arrest appellant. See Draper v. United States, 358 U.S. 307, 79 S.Ct. 329, 3 L.Ed.2d 327 (1959); Commonwealth v. Bosurgi, 411 Pa. 56, 190 A.2d 304 (1963).

For the foregoing reasons, the judgment of sentence is affirmed.

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