Recent Trips Programmed into GPS Device Help Prove Burglaries

Interesting facts from State v. Heck, 2011 Conn. App. LEXIS 264 (May 17, 2011):

During the overnight hours of August 29, 2007, a burglary was committed at the town hall in Suffield. . . . There were no eyewitnesses or physical evidence at the scene of the crime that connected the defendant to the burglary. On September 7, 2007, Christopher Burns, a detective with the Connecticut state police, received a telephone call from police officers in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, stating that they had apprehended the defendant for the burglary of two town halls in New Hampshire.

[A police officer named Roarick spotted the defendant’s car.] He then approached the vehicle and spoke to the passenger, Justin Douglas, who informed Roarick that the driver was visiting a friend nearby but that Douglas did not know the driver’s name or where he had gone. In an attempt to determine the location of the missing driver, Roarick pressed the ‘‘recent entry’’ button on the device to scroll through the recently entered addresses. Among the first addresses displayed were those of the Hillsborough and Windsor town halls, which had been burglarized.[fn: After a search warrant for the truck and its contents was executed by the Hillsborough police, Burns scrolled through the recently searched addresses that were saved in the defendant’s GPS device. The address for the town hall in Suffield came up as one of the recently searched addresses.]

The locations of the town halls were then admitted at trial to help show that the defendant had committed the burglaries. On one hand, it’s not all that different from the offline equivalent of a paper map that has the key places circled. On the other hand, it’s another example of how common digital evidence is becoming in criminal cases. Thanks to John Wesley Hall for the link.