APPEAL FROM THE SALINE COUNTY, CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 63CR-13-170. HONORABLE BOBBY MCCALLISTER, JUDGE.
Digby Law Firm, by: Bobby R. Digby II, for appellant.
Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Eileen W. Harrison, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge. WHITEAKER and HIXSON, JJ., agree.
WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge
Appellant appeals from the circuit court's judgment entered on January 6, 2014. Following the court's denial of his motion to suppress, pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 24.3(b), appellant entered a conditional plea of no contest to theft by receiving and possession of a firearm by certain persons. He was concurrently sentenced as a habitual offender on both charges to ten years' imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of Correction. On appeal, appellant's sole argument is that the circuit court erred in denying his motion to suppress. We affirm.
On January 7, 2013, Detective Ron Parsons, Detective Corporal Gary Robertson, and two patrol deputies, all of the Saline County Sherriff's Department, went to appellant's home to complete a " knock and talk" after learning of a report that appellant was involved in thefts of " utility-type copper" from electrical poles along Highway 35 through the city of Benton and into Grant County. They used a drive which encircled appellant's home to access the property, parking on the side of the home. There was no fence around the home. Upon exiting their vehicle, Detective Parsons saw a burned-out black spot in the backyard about fifteen to twenty yards away that still contained burned copper. In the area around the burned-out black spot, he saw five- to six-feet sections of ground wire, typically used by utility companies, stacked on top of each other in piles.
Both Detective Parsons and Corporal Robertson then heard voices in a " shop building" nearby. They made contact with two persons at the shop building, thinking one of them was appellant. Both ran but were apprehended. Neither was appellant.
They then made contact with Jacqueline Prevatt, appellant's girlfriend. She advised that appellant was not at the home. Corporal Robertson did a sweep of the premises to ensure that appellant was not there. He exited the premises upon finding
that appellant was not there. The officers then began their investigation. Having also seen ground wire on the ground near the burned-out black spot, Detective Parsons went over to further inspect it. From that place, he saw a boat that contained tools in plain view that he immediately recognized as stolen utility-contractor tools due to the inspection stickers on them.
Pursuant to an affidavit detailing the evidence observed on January 7, 2013, a warrant was issued on February 15, 2013. Detective Parsons participated in the execution of that warrant on the same date. The search pursuant to that warrant uncovered varying amounts of ...