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United States v. White

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 8, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Buck Otto White, also known as Timothy Joseph Hoffman, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted October 19, 2015.

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - St. Paul.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Bradley M. Endicott, Assistant U.S. Attorney, James Lackner, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Saint Paul, MN; John Marti, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Minneapolis, MN.

Buck Otto White, also known as Timothy Joseph Hoffman, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Minneapolis, MN.

For Buck Otto White, also known as Timothy Joseph Hoffman, Defendant - Appellant: Gary R. Wolf, WOLF LAW OFFICE, Minneapolis, MN.

Before WOLLMAN, BEAM, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

GRUENDER, Circuit Judge.

Buck Otto White was indicted for possessing stolen firearms and ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(j), and for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). At trial, the district court[1] overruled his objections to the admission of evidence of other stolen items found in his storage unit and car. The court also denied White's motion for judgment of acquittal. The jury convicted White on all counts, and the court sentenced him to 300 months' imprisonment. White now appeals. We affirm.

I.

In the course of investigating a series of burglaries of local businesses and storage units, the New Ulm Police Department and the Nicollet County Sheriff's Office sought and received a warrant to place a global-positioning-system (" GPS" ) tracking device on White's minivan. An officer attached the device to White's van while responding to an emergency medical call at White's home in early February 2013. With the GPS device in place, law enforcement began tracking the van's location.

On February 11, White's van stopped at a storage-unit facility in St. Peter. The next day, the van returned to the same storage facility and later a second storage facility in St. Peter. Police determined that White did not lease any storage units in St. Peter. After leaving the St. Peter storage units, White's van traveled to a third storage facility, B& G Storage, in Courtland, where White did lease a unit.

The following day, White's van again traveled to St. Peter. Mark Chadderon, an investigator from the Nicollet County Sheriff's Office, followed White to a St. Peter storage-unit facility. Investigator Chadderon saw White walking near the storage units, and he noticed that White parked his van so that it blocked access to the storage facility. After White drove away, Investigator Chadderdon discovered that one of the storage units had been opened forcibly. Investigator Chadderdon ran the license-plate number on a car stored inside the unit and identified Robert Ploog as the unit's renter. Investigator Chadderdon then checked the GPS monitor and saw that White's van traveled, without stopping, to B& G Storage.

As a result of these events, Investigator Chadderdon sought, received, and executed a search warrant for White's unit at B& G Storage. Inside the unit, Investigator Chadderon found a new lawnmower that was still in its box, with an attached receipt showing that it belonged to Ploog. Investigator Chadderon also found framed art prints that had been stolen from another unit in St. Peter. In addition, he found a stolen rotary hammer, Ford automobile parts stolen from a Ford dealership, and a snow blower with an obliterated serial number. Finally, Investigator Chadderdon found multiple cased firearms, shells, and equipment on shelves in the back of the unit. These firearms included a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, an SKS rifle with a scope and collapsible bayonet, a .22 rifle, and a Remington SP-10 shotgun. Investigator Chadderon also found over one hundred 10-and 12-gauge shotgun shells, a camouflage bag, a shooting rest used to steady a gun, and a shooting vest.

Law enforcement learned that the SP-10 shotgun was registered to Kenneth Nevins. Investigator Chadderdon contacted Nevins about the firearm, and Nevins explained that he had been out of the state for several months. Investigator Chadderdon and several deputies went to Nevins's home and discovered that someone had broken open the front door. Consultation with Nevins led them to conclude that several items were missing from Nevins's home, including a flat-screen TV, fifteen firearms, ammunition, camouflage shooting bags, gun cases, and several tackle boxes. Nevins had made distinctive markings on the stolen property, painting names ...


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