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United States v. Adkinson

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division

April 7, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
LAWRENCE DUSEAN ADKINSON (02), Defendants.

          ENTRY ON MOTION TO SUPPRESS

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Lawrence Dusean Adkinson's (“Adkinson”) Motion to Suppress (Filing No. 291). Adkinson is charged with Count 1: Conspiracy to Commit Robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), Count 2: Conspiracy to Brandish a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(o), Count 3: Robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), and Count 4: Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). (Filing No. 48.) Adkinson petitions the Court to suppress any and all evidence obtained through cell phone records and his Facebook account. Neither party requested an evidentiary hearing, nor is one warranted, as neither party has noted any significant disputed factual issues. “District courts are required to conduct evidentiary hearings only when a substantial claim is presented and there are disputed issues of material fact that will affect the outcome of the motion.” United States v. Curlin, 638 F.3d 562, 564 (7th Cir. 2011). Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(d), the Court now states its findings of fact and conclusions of law and DENIES the Motion to Suppress.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         On July 27, 2015, a T-Mobile retail store in Clarksville, Indiana was robbed by four black males. Initially, two of the robbers entered the T-Mobile store posing as customers. Once the store was clear, the two robbers pulled out handguns and ordered the employees away from the counter and onto the floor inside the office. After receiving a cell phone call from one of the robbers within the store, two additional robbers entered the T-Mobile store and locked the doors. The four robbers took approximately one hundred cell phones and placed them into black trash bags. They also stole T-Mobile's DVR surveillance system, as well as wallets, cash, and cell phones belonging to T-Mobile's employees. During the robbery, an employee overheard one of the robbers speaking into his cell phone stating they were “ready to go”. The four males then exited the store through the emergency exit located in the rear of the store.

         On July 28, 2015, a Verizon Wireless store in Lexington, Kentucky was robbed. Initially two black males entered the store, and they were later joined by a third black male. Handguns were brandished and the store employees were led to the rear of the store and ordered to place cell phones and electronic devices into large trash bags. The robbers attempted to steal the Verizon store's DVR surveillance system; however, surveillance of the three subjects inside the store was captured. The three males also stole wallets, cash and cell phones belonging to store employees. Thereafter, from July 2015 through September 2015, several other retail cell phone stores throughout the Midwest area, were robbed in a similar fashion.

         Following the robbery of Verizon Wireless, on July 28, 2015, a representative from Verizon provided Ed Schroeder (“Schroeder”), T-Mobile's Regional Loss Prevention Manager for Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, with surveillance of the Verizon Wireless robbery in Lexington. T-Mobile employees in Clarksville informed Schroder that the robbers in Lexington looked similar to the men who robbed them in Clarksville.

         As part of T-Mobile's Loss Prevention standard procedures, whenever a T-Mobile retail location, T-Mobile Premium Retailer, or a Metro PCS location reports a burglary or robbery, the Loss Prevention Investigations Team will pull ‘tower dumps' of all calls that were made on any T-Mobile tower in a small radius and time frame of the location. (Filing No. 320 at 5.) In addition, if information is received from other wireless companies about similar incidences, T-Mobile will also pull tower dumps of those events to aid in their investigation. Id. at 5-6. This data is analyzed by the loss prevention team to find any links/connections between each incident. Id. at 6. Based on its loss prevention policy, T-Mobile initiated a tower connection data dump for the Clarksville store robbery, as well as a tower connection data dump of the T-Mobile tower servicing the Verizon Wireless in Lexington. From the data dump, T-Mobile learned that a T-Mobile account with the cell phone number (708) 543-7900 was near both tower locations at the time of the robberies.

         The mission statement of T-Mobile's Loss Prevention program is to “protect people, property and company profitability by utilizing the Loss Prevention teams' knowledge, expertise, and partnerships.” (Filing No. 320 at 5.) The Loss Prevention team investigates incidents such as fraud and theft internally as well as large external cases originating in retail T-Mobile locations. Id. The investigative team also has access to subscriber information for T-Mobile accounts. In addition, T-Mobile has a Privacy Policy which describes how they collect, use, disclose, and store personal information of its customers. In regards to its Legal Process and Protection policy, the Privacy Policy explains that “T-Mobile will provide customer information where necessary to comply with the law, such as disclosure of information to a law enforcement agency for the customer's safety or the safety of others, or when T-Mobile is compelled to do so by subpoena or other legal process.” (See Filing No. 320-7 at 3.) Further, the Privacy Policy explains the following:

We may disclose Personal Information, and other information about you, or your communications, where we have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary:
…To protect our rights or interests, property or safety or that of others.

Id. at 13.

         On August 4, 2015, a conference call occurred between Schroeder, FBI Special Agent Ronald A. Hornback, Jr. (“Agent Hornback”), Detective Nate Walls of the Clarksville Police Department (“Detective Walls”), and T-Mobile's Loss Prevention investigator, Scott Wohl (“Wohl”). Schroder and Wohl informed Agent Hornback and Detective Walls that they had already initiated a tower connection data dump of the T-Mobile tower servicing its store in Clarksville and the Verizon Store in Lexington, and the T-Mobile account with phone number (708) 543-7900 was near both tower locations during the commission of the robberies. (Filing No. 320 at 4, Filing No. 320-2 at 5). Wohl further stated that he had determined the account associated with the number (708) 543-7900 was previously associated with a pre-paid T-Mobile account in the name of Lawrence Adkinson, however on July 7, 2015, Adkinson authorized the number (708) 543-7900 to be switched to a new subscriber, named Darcell Jones. Wohl also indicated that he located pictures of Adkinson via social media and the pictures were consistent with one of the robbers depicted in the Lexington robbery surveillance.

         After the conference call, Agent Hornback searched Facebook for the name “Lawrence Adkinson.” After conducting several searches on Facebook, Agent Hornback found a public Facebook account, bearing the username “L.a. Booky, ” which contained a profile photograph of someone similar to one of the robbers captured in the Lexington robbery surveillance. Agent Hornback soon determined that he had located Adkinson's public Facebook account.

         Several weeks later, on August 23, 2015, Wohl contacted Agent Hornback regarding the robbery of another T-Mobile store located in St. Louis, Missouri. Wohl explained that the (708) 543-7900 T-Mobile account phone number was near the store at the time of the robbery. Three days later, on August 26, 2015, Wohl again contacted Agent Hornback stating there was another armed robbery of a T-Mobile located in DeKalb, Illinois, which he believed was ...


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