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Evidence Seized in Holmdel Arrest Admissible at Trial, Says Appeals Court

Fake credit cards and a bogus driver’s license taken from a New York City man suspected of using them to buy electronics in a Holmdel K-mart are admissible as evidence in his case, say appellate judges who reversed a trial-court ruling.

Information from acting Monmouth Prosecutor Chris Grammiccioni’s office says that Alcy Rosario, now 31, was briefly held at the store on November 18, 2011 after a store loss-prevention officer reported the suspected scam.

The security officer called Holmdel police after recognizing Rosario in surveillance video of another suspected instance of purchases with false credit cards, investigators say.

A borough police officer detained Rosario and secured his identificaiton while checking for outstanding warrants, say authorities. Word of an active warrant in New York prompted the officer to arrest and search Rosario, revealing cards issued under a variety of names and a fraudulent New York driver’s license.

The trial court ordered the items suppressed, reasoning that the patrol officer was not aware of all the details given to the dispatcher by the loss-prevention officer, and therefore had no “reasonable suspicion” to hold Rosario and check for warrants.

The two-judge appellate panel concurred with the state’s appeal, determining that the loss-prevention officer’s information was legally imputed to the patrol officer under the “collective knowledge” doctrine or “fellow officer” rule.

In principle under the guideline, a respnding police officer is within legal rights to stop and detain a suspect “in reliance on evidence gathered or observations made by another officer or police dispatcher cooperating in the investigation,” even if the officer isn’t in full grasp of the supportive details.

There is no word of whether the ruling will be appealed to a higher court. Rosario is represented by Paterson attorney Theresa Richardson-Campbell. Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Ellyn Rajfer conducts the state’s case.

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