People v. Padilla, 1-17-1632

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Citation2021 IL App (1st) 171632,195 N.E.3d 740,457 Ill.Dec. 604
Docket Number1-17-1632
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Robert PADILLA, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date24 June 2021

2021 IL App (1st) 171632
195 N.E.3d 740
457 Ill.Dec. 604

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Robert PADILLA, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 1-17-1632

Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division.

Filed June 24, 2021
Modified Upon Denial of Rehearing August 12, 2021

James E. Chadd, Douglas R. Hoff, and Maggie A. Heim, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Brian A. Levitsky, and Ahmed Islam, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE LAMPKIN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

457 Ill.Dec. 611

¶ 1 Following a bench trial, defendant Robert Padilla was convicted of one count of being an armed habitual criminal ( 720 ILCS 5/24-1.7(a) (West 2012)), two counts of unlawful use or possession of a weapon by a felon (id. § 24-1.1(a)), one count of unlawful use or possession of a weapon by a felon (id. ), one count of burglary (id. § 19-1(a)), and three counts of theft (id. § 16-1(a)(1)(A)). Defendant was acquitted of one count of possession of burglary tools (id. § 19-2) and one count of criminal damage to property (id. § 21-1(a)). He was sentenced to concurrent sentences of eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections on the armed habitual criminal and burglary counts.

¶ 2 On appeal, defendant alleges that (1) the evidence was insufficient to establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, (2) the trial court erroneously denied his motion to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to a search warrant, (3) inadmissible hearsay evidence was admitted against him at trial, and (4) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to support defendant's defense at trial with evidence establishing that he was not connected to the offenses.

¶ 3 For the reasons that follow, we affirm both defendant's convictions and sentences.1


¶ 5 On May 26, 2013, Cindy Giron was the assistant store manager on duty at the

195 N.E.3d 748
457 Ill.Dec. 612

Walgreens at 3045 West 26th Street and was responsible for closing the store at 9 pm. The store was located in a strip mall and was connected to another vacant business with an address of 3051 West 26th Street, which was formerly occupied by Washington Mutual Bank.

¶ 6 Before closing the store, Ms. Giron counted the contents of each register and then dropped the contents of each register into a safe located in the office, which was at the back of the store. The office contained two safes. One held money and identification cards or debit cards that people forgot at the store, while the other held Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus cards and cigarettes. Everything was secured in the safes before Ms. Giron left work. Before leaving the store, Ms. Giron ensured that no customers or employees were still inside, turned off the lights, locked the doors, and turned on the alarm system. By the time that all of these tasks were completed it was between 9:45 and 10 p.m.

¶ 7 The following day, May 27, 2013, another assistant store manager, Salomea Cuevas, arrived at the Walgreens at 7:20 or 7:25 a.m. Upon arriving at the store, Ms. Cuevas disarmed the alarm system and went to the office, where she noticed a lot of debris in the hallway right outside of the office door. Inside the office, Ms. Cuevas saw a three-foot hole in the wall. Both safes were missing, and the office was a mess. When Ms. Cuevas looked through the hole, she saw the safe that held the cigarettes and bus passes in the adjacent vacant Washington Mutual Bank property. Ms. Cuevas called 911, and the police were dispatched to the scene.

¶ 8 Ms. Cuevas testified that the safe that held the money contained three days’ worth of deposits, with a total estimated value of $40,000. Money from the day's sales was banded together with deposit bands, while coins were rolled. The displaced safe was pried open, revealing that its contents were all missing. Ms. Cuevas estimated the value of the missing CTA cards to be between $10,000 and $20,000. Between 20 and 30 cartons of cigarettes, totaling between 200 and 300 individual packs of cigarettes, were also taken.

¶ 9 James Santiago, the general manager of the strip mall, testified that the Washington Mutual Bank space at 3051 West 26th Street was closed on May 27, 2013. Mr. Santiago visited the property every day and was last there on May 26, 2013. Mr. Santiago went to the store after he received a call from Walgreens manager Hector Mora. Upon opening the front door of the vacant bank, Mr. Santiago noticed a breach in the wall that revealed a hole extending from the vacant property to the adjacent Walgreens wall. Mr. Santiago walked outside to the rear of the vacant property where he found a number of his tools, including a pair of giant steel pry bars. Mr. Santiago testified that the back door could be pulled out and there would be about "one inch play." The back door appeared to be tampered with and had marks between the metal plate and the door that were not previously there.

¶ 10 Detective Anthony Pulcanio responded to the scene and also observed the large hole in the wall in the manager's office and the displaced safe in the adjacent vacant property. Upon seeing cinder-block and drywall damage, Detective Pulcanio surmised that the entry was made from the adjacent property because the displaced drywall and cinder blocks were stacked up in the vacant space.

¶ 11 Detective Pulcanio spoke with Ms. Cuevas and an evidence technician who was also called to the scene. Detective Pulcanio went through the hole in the Walgreens office into the vacant space and walked to the back door, where he observed

195 N.E.3d 749
457 Ill.Dec. 613

pry marks and a "lot of play in the door where you could get a screwdriver in there to manipulate the lock." Detective Pulcanio and his partner, Detective Ken Becker, went outside and located a camera south of the Walgreens, on the Mega Mall building. Detective Pulcanio later watched a video from the early morning hours of May 27 and burned a copy of the video onto a disk. On the video, Detective Pulcanio saw a light-colored SUV driving northbound into the alley behind the Walgreens, followed by an individual walking up to the camera, looking straight up at it, and then using what appeared to be a large PVC pole to change the position of the camera. Detective Pulcanio could not determine the race or even the sex of the person depicted on the videotape, although he believed the person depicted on the video appeared to be "light-skinned." After taking multiple photographs of the scene, the detectives returned to the 10th District police station. At that time, there were no known suspects.

¶ 12 On May 31, 2013, between 7 and 7:30 a.m., Detective Pulcanio received a call from an unidentified female, who provided him with a lot of information. Detective Pulcanio then prepared a complaint for a search warrant for Robert Padilla and the garden and first floor apartments at 2727 South Trumbull Avenue. The search warrant was approved by Judge Clarence Burch that same day.

¶ 13 In the meantime, Officer Peter Theodore was assigned to surveil defendant's known address of 2727 South Trumbull Avenue because he was a suspect in the burglary. At about 11 a.m., Officer Theodore saw defendant exit the front yard of 2727 South Trumbull Avenue holding a white bag. Defendant entered the passenger side of a gray Nissan Sentra, while a female Hispanic person entered on the driver's side and began driving southbound on Trumbull Avenue. Enforcement Officer Angelo Mandile and his partner followed the Sentra and curbed it at 2830 South Trumbull Avenue after noticing that neither the female driver nor defendant were wearing seat belts.

¶ 14 Officer Mandile approached the passenger side of the Sentra on foot and noticed that defendant was holding a white plastic grocery-type bag in his lap. The bag was open, and Officer Mandile could see that the bag contained a "bundle" of currency that he estimated to have a value of about $1000, along with over a hundred CTA bus cards. Defendant was arrested and taken to the 10th District police station.

¶ 15 Later that day, Officer Gerardo Vega and other officers executed a search warrant at 2727 South Trumbull Avenue. In the front bedroom of the first-floor apartment, Officer Vega recovered three pieces of mail bearing the name of Robert Padilla with an address of 2727 South Trumbull Avenue. One piece of mail, from the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), was addressed to defendant at the basement apartment of 2727 South Trumbull Avenue. A second piece of mail, from Citi Visa, was addressed to defendant at 2727 South Trumbull Avenue and did not specify which apartment, and the third, an Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act form contained an address for the first-floor apartment of 2727 South Trumbull Avenue. See 730 ILCS 150/1 et seq. (West 2012).

¶ 16 The officers also searched the separate basement apartment, which had no connecting stairway between the basement and first floor apartments. Detective Pulcanio, who was also present for the execution of the search warrant, observed a black locked Sentry Safe in the basement apartment. The SWAT unit opened the safe, revealing numerous bundles of currency

195 N.E.3d 750
457 Ill.Dec. 614

in varying denominations, totaling more than $5,000. Some of the money was wrapped in Federal Reserve money bands and some in rubber bands. The safe also contained a tan cloth Federal Reserve money bag that held a loaded blue steel revolver with six live rounds.

¶ 17 The search also revealed 11 CTA bus cards on an end table, in excess of $500 in rolled coins, and two receipts reflecting recent cash purchases from a Home Depot and a Sam's Club. One of the boxes of coins had a recent stamp indicating that it was from Brink's. The team also found hundreds of packs of cigarettes, both in cartons and individual packs, a radio scanner set to the 10th District (the same district that both...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT