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Name: In re Lennies H.
Case #: A106010
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 01/19/2005
Subsequent History: Revw den. 5/11/05

Police officers had received a report of a sighting of a vehicle which had been stolen the previous day by three males during a robbery. The officers went to where the vehicle was parked and watched it for three hours. During that time officers observed three males who would come out of a residence and look at the vehicle. The minor and a codefendant were approached by an officer as they walked from the vehicle to the residence. The officer asked if they had any knowledge about the vehicle and if they had any keys in their possession. The minor and codefendant denied both. The officer’s dog sniffed the car and then led the officer to the minor. The officer conducted a pat search of the minor, and felt what he thought were keys. He removed the keys after the minor denied any knowledge of them. The keys were to the stolen vehicle. The minor was arrested and brought to the police station, where he admitted his involvement in the car theft. The minor’s motion to suppress the keys and his statement was denied. The appellate court affirmed the denial of the motion. The police had reasonable suspicion to detain and pat search the minor. The officer had probable cause to believe that the keys were evidence linking the minor to the carjacking at the time of the initial “plain-feel” search. At the time the officer felt the keys, he knew the minor matched the description of a suspect, his connection to the car had been established, the police dog had alerted to him, and the minor had denied having any keys. Together, these circumstances would warrant a reasonable person to conclude the minor was hiding evidence. Also, since there was probable cause to arrest, the search was incident to the arrest.