Kilkenny, Labrecque and Leonard.
Defendant was charged in an indictment with having, on December 1, 1967, unlawfully stolen in the Township of East Hanover one cigarette lighter of the value of $10.97, one package of cigars of the value of $.49, one cigarette lighter of the value of $12.97, and one man's wrist watch of the value of $7.95, in all of the value of $32.38, being the goods and chattels of Vornado, Inc., contrary to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2A:119-2.
Defendant was tried before a jury and found guilty. He prosecutes this appeal from the judgment of conviction.
On December 1, 1967, about 4:20 P.M., defendant, a police sergeant with ten years' experience, was in charge of the desk at the East Hanover police headquarters, when his superior officer, Chief Schuler, entered the room and asked defendant to accompany him to a new building under construction, "for privacy." They went to this new building, a new police headquarters, to the chief's office there. After
they sat down, the chief said to defendant: "You were seen last night taking something from Two Guys. What did you take?" "Two Guys" is the popularly known name of stores operated by Vornado, Inc. Defendant worked part-time in its East Hanover store at night as a stock clerk.
The chief's question was undoubtedly prompted by his having received a call at about 5:30 A.M. at his home from someone connected with "Two Guys" or Vornado.
The chief testified that defendant "broke down a little bit and he told me that he took two cigarette lighters, a pack of cigars and a watch." In the chief's words, "I said, 'What the hell did you do that for?' He didn't give me no explanation. So with that I said, 'We will go back to our old headquarters and I want you to go and bring back that stuff back to me right away.'" The Chief testified that defendant, who was working the 4 to 12 shift on this particular day, went outside the old building, to which they had returned, got in a patrol car and went in the direction where defendant lived. He was back within approximately eight minutes and handed the chief the four items. The chief put the articles in an envelope, marked it for identification, and later turned the envelope and contents over to the prosecutor. He identified them at trial. The chief's testimony was objected to, but the objection was overruled and the four items were received in evidence, over objection. A pretrial motion to suppress this evidence had been denied.
In his appeal defendant advances three points for reversal, viz:
(1) A police officer is entitled to the same constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment as any other citizen.
(2) The statement of defendant Bode, as testified to by Chief Schuler, was inadmissible since it was involuntarily obtained under circumstances that were fundamentally unfair.
(3) The goods introduced as evidence against defendant were inadmissible since they were the product of an ...