According the news article, the customer came in for a slice of pizza and placed his belongings on the counter. He then headed to the ACME supermarket to cash his prize. Upon arriving at ACME his ticket had disappeared. He reported his ticket stolen. The police searched Anthony’s Pizza the next day. Police discovered drug contraband incident to the search for the ticket. The link to the Philly.com article can be viewed here.
The police probably had a warrant to search the pizza shop. A search warrant is issued by a judge on the grounds that there is probable cause to search the premises. Warrants are specific and should dictate exactly what the police officer is looking for, and the specific area where he intends to search. Fishing expeditions are not tolerated. However, in cases like this, where illegal items are spotted during the search, those items can be lawfully seized.
They are certain situations where police can search without a warrant. Police have a right to search incident to arrest on the premises. They may search if they have consent from the owner, or if the evidence is in plain view. The police may also search without a warrant if the time required to obtain the warrant would jeopardize public safety.
If you face criminal charges, one defense may be to challenge the search warrant. If the warrant is invalid, the evidence obtained as result of the warrant may be eligible for suppression. If you face criminal charges, get a free consultation to know your options. Call our office at (267) 535-9776 to discuss your case.