According to an Oklahoma City husband and wife, their trip to Qdoba for dinner with friends and family turned into the search for — and recovery of — their SUV. The vehicle was supposedly stolen from their home’s driveway with the wife’s keys. Now, a man faces criminal charges related to the alleged theft, and at last report was being held on a $75,000 bond.
He could face charges for more than just the theft of the vehicle, however. The family claims that when they went to retrieve their vehicle, a loaded gun, drug paraphernalia and stolen property were found inside. When Oklahoma City police officers found the vehicle, they failed to notice these items, which were supposedly left in the vehicle by the person accused of stealing it.
Prosecuting charges relating to the items found in the SUV could be problematic. Since police failed to notice the objects when they found the vehicle, it appears that no sufficient chain of custody was established. It is unknown how long the vehicle was unattended once it was located. Therefore, reasonable doubt could exist regarding the identity of the individual who actually placed the objects in the SUV.
Anyone facing criminal charges is presumed innocent until and unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors rely on law enforcement officers to follow established laws, policies and procedures regarding the seizure of evidence that they intend to present in court. When officers fail to do so, the integrity of the evidence may be compromised and thus subject to a ruling by the court that it is inadmissible at trial.
Source: kfor.com, “Oklahoma car theft victim reunited with car, finds gun and crack pipe“, Adam Snider, April 24, 2015