An amazing “coincidence.” What are the odds?

What are the odds that the police would have an eye on a house because they think a burglar lives there?  That, while they’re keeping an eye on the house, some completely random person comes up and asks them to go into the house for a “well being” check?  That fire and rescue, along with the police, enter the house to find two people they say need medical assistance, but who don’t need it so bad they’re willing (or required) to go to the hospital?  That a subsequent search of the home (the cops are already in, so why not, right?) turned up not only the stolen items but the alleged burglar?  That all this happened on the same day in the same town at the same house?

What are the odds?

Pretty good if you take the Oswego Police department’s version of things.  From today’s Beacon News:

Well-being check leads to burglary arrest in Oswego

BY ERIKA WURST November 21, 2013 5:14PM

Updated: November 21, 2013 6:05PM

 An Oswego man is facing burglary charges this week after police allegedly found stolen items in his home during a well-being check on Sunday.
Police entered the home of Zachary Harmon, 21, 800 block of Columbus Drive, to conduct a well-being check, and during a search found items linked to a recent series of burglaries.
Oswego police took two reports from residents who reported having their vehicles broken into between 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday on Manhattan Circle.
A laptop computer, a phone, a radar detector and a GPS unit were allegedly taken during the burglaries, police said.
Police received a tip from one of the victims that the items might be located at a home in the 800 block of Columbus Drive. As police were watching the home, a woman showed up, concerned about the well being of someone inside, they said…

How lucky those officers must have been?  Clearly a case of being in the right place at the right time!  If that completely random woman hadn’t happened upon them (completely randomly, I’m sure) and possibly given them an exception to the 4th Amendment’s requirement to get a warrant before going into the home that was, coincidentally, I’m sure, the subject of their surveillance, they may never have been able to go in.  All pure luck, I’m sure!

Or, there’s more going on in this one than the Beacon News was lead to believe.  My money is on option #2.

It know it’s not that much of a concern to you, though.  The police had a hunch, they got their man.  You don’t care about his rights as long as he’s guilty.

I care about his rights. I care about your rights, too.  Mostly because his rights and your rights are my rights.  That’s really what I’m worried about.

So, I read this report and I’m concerned.  Let’s just say I don’t think it was all a coincidence.

Author: matthaiduk

Matt Haiduk is a criminal defense lawyer in Illinois. He loves his dog. And pizza.

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