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STATE v. POTTER

January 19, 1990.

STATE OF KANSAS, Appellee,
v.
TIMOTHY W. POTTER, Appellant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by

The issues for review relate to a car stop and the K.S.A. 22-2402 concept of "reasonable suspicion" prior to defendant Timothy Potter's arrest.

Potter contends: (1) The arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the car as required by K.S.A. 22-2402; and (2) the stop, which resulted in his arrest, was invalid.

  Potter was convicted of aggravated robbery, K.S.A. 21-3427. The trial court denied Potter's pretrial motions to quash his arrest and to suppress the evidence seized and the statements he made.

  We affirm the trial court. The stop and the search that followed were based upon reasonable suspicion. The provisions of K.S.A. 22-2402 were not violated.

  Facts

  At approximately 2:00 a.m. on February 15, 1988, a convenience store in north Sedgwick County was robbed by two men dressed in camouflage suits and with black greasepaint on their faces. Joseph Lang, a Sedgwick County deputy sheriff, received

[246 Kan. 120]

      the report of the robbery over his radio. Lang was assigned to the southeastern part of Sedgwick County during the late night hours of February 14 and the early morning hours of February 15.

  Shortly before 4:00 a.m., Lang was patrolling the area of South 47th and Clifton when he noticed a Chevrolet Camaro which he thought was "suspicious." He testified that the area of 47th and Clifton had been subject to gas run-offs, vandalism, and auto thefts. During a ten-minute period, Lang noticed a Camaro pass through a Kwik Shop parking lot and drive through the parking lot of a small shopping center several times. The Kwik Shop was open; however, all the businesses in the shopping center were closed. He also noted that the car circled around several other businesses which were on the street. In Lang's opinion, the persons in the vehicle were either lost or engaged in some type of criminal activity.

  Lang pulled up behind the vehicle as it turned onto a residential street and noticed that the vehicle did not have a license tag. Although the vehicle did have a piece of paper in the rear window, the rear window was fogged over and, therefore, he could not tell what the paper was. Lang turned on his red lights and the vehicle pulled over. Lang testified that, although a temporary permit is six inches wide, due to the slant of the rear window of the Camaro, the slip of paper appeared to be only two to three inches wide. As Lang approached the vehicle, he discovered that the slip of paper was, in fact, a valid 30-day permit. As he looked into the rear window, Lang noted that the person in the back seat was wearing a camouflage outfit and had black greasepaint on his face. Lang then noticed that the individual seated in the front passenger seat was also dressed in camouflage and had black greasepaint on his face.

  Remembering the previous radio report, Lang stepped back from the vehicle, drew his revolver, and told the occupants of the vehicle to place their hands on the ceiling of the vehicle while he called for backup. The previous radio report had stated that the robbers were armed with a knife and what appeared to be a .22 caliber pistol.

[246 Kan. 121]

     

  Potter was identified by Lang as the person in the front passenger seat of the car, dressed in a green camouflage shirt and pants ...


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