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Reasonable Suspicion

State v. Andrew W. Rosenthal, 2011AP828-CR, District 3, 9/7/11

court of appeals decision (1-judge, not for publication); for Rosenthal: Erica L. Bauer; case activity

Reasonable suspicion supported stop of car, at 2:30 a.m., in isolated area which was site of frequent break-ins; State v. Young, 212 Wis. 2d 47, 569 N.W.2d 84 (Ct. App. 1997), distinguished:

¶14      Here, conversely, we conclude that Rosenthal’s conduct does not describe the conduct of a large number of innocent persons.  See id. at 433. Oberg observed Rosenthal travel to a storage facility under the cover of night, enter the complex, encircle one of the set-back buildings, and then attempt to leave without stopping at a specific unit.  Although it is not unlawful to travel to a twenty-four hour storage complex at 2:30 a.m., Oberg testified the activity was peculiar and explained he became very suspicious when the vehicle, after driving around one of the buildings, failed to stop at a unit, and attempted to leave.  Oberg also considered this activity in light of his knowledge that the storage complex suffered the most break-ins of any storage facility and had been designated a high-priority patrol area.  Considering the totality of the circumstances, we conclude Rosenthal’s conduct could give rise to a reasonable inference that Rosenthal was “casing” the premises[2] and, thus, Oberg had reasonable suspicion to conduct a Terry investigation.  See Anderson, 155 Wis. 2d at 84.

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