The defendant, Alcy Rosario, 31, claimed evidence found on him while being detained in the store was inadmissible, since Holmdel police officers on scene had no "reasonable suspicion" to detain or search him, according to a news release.
The incident began when a loss-prevention spotted Rosario in K-Mart, and recognized him from an alleged earlier credit card incident in the store. The loss-prevention officer called Holmdel Police, which is when a dispatcher sent an officer to the scene. The dispatcher told police it was suspected that Rosario was using fraudulent credit cards, but did not relay the loss-prevention officer's suspicion of previous thefts.
When police arrived, Rosario was detained and it was discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest from New York. Police then put Rosario under arrest, allegedly finding numerous credit cards in different names and a fake driver's license.
Rosario's claim that police had no right to search or detain him was overturned in appellate court on Wednesday, which means the case can now move forward.
“Under the ‘collective knowledge’ doctrine or ‘fellow officer’ rule, a police officer responding to a call may lawfully conduct an investigative stop and detention in reliance on evidence gathered or observations made by another officer or police dispatcher cooperating in the investigation," the Appellate Court judges said. "This is so, even though the responding officer is not personally aware of all the facts objectively supporting a reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop and detain a suspect, so long as the other officer or dispatcher, whose instructions or information the responding officer relied, possessed specific and articulable facts supporting a reasonable suspicion to stop and detain the suspect.”
The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Ellyn Rajfer. Rosario is represented by Theresa Richardson-Campbell, of Paterson.