281 F.2d 132 (8th Cir. 1960), 16404, Thomas v. United States

Docket Nº:16404.
Citation:281 F.2d 132
Party Name:Patrick Fagan THOMAS, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Case Date:July 14, 1960
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 132

281 F.2d 132 (8th Cir. 1960)

Patrick Fagan THOMAS, Appellant,


UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

No. 16404.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

July 14, 1960

Page 133

Robert J. O'Hanlon, St. Louis, Mo., for appellant; Sorkis J. Webbe and Robert J. O'Hanlon, St. Louis, Mo., on the brief, for appellant.

Page 134

John A. Newton, Asst. U.S. Atty., St. Louis, Mo., for appellee; William H. Webster, U.S. Atty., and John A. Newton, St. Louis, Mo., on the brief.

Before SANBORN, MATTHES and BLACKMUN, Circuit Judges.

SANBORN, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a judgment and sentence of imprisonment for one year, entered on December 17, 1959, upon a jury verdict finding the defendant (appellant) guilty under an information charging that on March 14, 1959, in St. Louis, Missouri, he had in his possession two cases of Vel beauty soap, of a value not in excess of $100, which had been unlawfully taken from an interstate shipment of freight, and which soap he knew had been stolen-- a violation of Section 659, Title 18 U.S.C., which makes it a federal offense to have possession of such goods, knowing them to have been stolen.

The only evidence produced at the trial of the defendant was that of the Government. At the close of the Government's evidence, the defendant rested his case. While the admissibility of some of the evidence is challenged by the defendant, particularly that obtained as the result of a search and seizure, no question of the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the conviction is raised.

The factual situation out of which the case arose as shown by the record on appeal, is substantially as follows:

On March 10, 1959, a trailer of the Melvin Trucking Company was loaded with Vel soap at a plant of the Colgate Palmolive Peet Company in Indiana and was driven to St. Louis, Missouri. The shipment was consigned to Colgate Palmolive Peet Company, Kansas City, Kansas. The sealed trailer was parked in St. Louis on a truck parking lot of the Eaton Truck Lines on the evening of March 11, 1959. While the trailer was standing there, a young Negro, Reuben Reece, broke the seal on the back of it and stole two cartons of the soap. He took the soap to his home, which was nearby. In the early morning of March 13, 1959, two uncles of Reuben-- Albert and Henry Reece-- were shown the soap in the house by James Reece, Reuben's father. Albert Reece, one of the uncles, took a bar of the soap to Ell's Confectionery store, located on Broadway, several blocks from the house. The defendant was alone in the front part of the store. Albert showed him the bar of soap and asked if he would buy such soap. The defendant offered to pay five cents a bar, and told Albert to go back and get the soap and bring it down before the defendant's wife got up. 'He kind of indicated she was back in the back part of the store asleep.' Albert and his brother Henry got the soap, carried it down to Ell's Confectionery, and delivered it to the defendant, who paid Albert, for about 95 bars, $4.65 less a $3.50 bill that Albert owed him, or a net return of $1.15 in cash for the soap stolen by Reuben on March 11.

On March 13, 1959, at about 9 p.m., Reuben Reece and four other Negro boys or young men returned to the trailer, opened it, and stole seven cartons of Vel soap, of which Reuben took two. The afternoon of the next day, Henry Reece took two cartons of the Vel soap to Ell's Confectionery, and sold them to the defendant for $7.50.

On March 17, 1959, Sergeant Kuda, of the St. Louis Police Department, and Special Agent Bailey M. Stanfield, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, interviewed Henry and Albert Reece, who told the officers that they had sold Vel...

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