When a car is impounded an inventory search is permissible


In 2004, Ruby and Earl Benson, after a trip to Mount Olive, Mississippi, returned to their home on Highway 35 in Collins, Mississippi. The couple observed a vehicle parked in their driveway and witnessed William James Logan exit their home carrying a money box which belonged to Earl.

Logan then got into his vehicle and left. Ruby went inside the house while Earl pursued Logan. In addition to the money box, a blue jewelry box, a necklace, Sacajawea golden dollar coins, and $2,300 in cash were missing from their home. The Covington County Sheriff’s Department was notified.

After the Benson burglary was reported, Carol Sue Wise came home to find her front door open and the door’s glass casing on the floor. Carol cautiously entered her house and immediately noticed that two of her piggy banks were missing. She then called 911 and reported that her home had been burglarized. Upon closer examination, Carol noticed that her jewelry box was also missing.

Deputies Wayne Harvey and Chris Newman went to investigate the Benson burglary. While en route to the Bensons’ residence, dispatch alerted the deputies that a second home (Carol’s residence) had been burglarized. Shortly after getting the call from dispatch, the deputies stopped a vehicle matching the description of the car which had been driven by the burglar fleeing the Bensons’ residence.

The driver, Logan, exited the vehicle; however, after he learned why he had been stopped, he got back into the vehicle and fled. The deputies gave chase, and Logan pulled over shortly thereafter.

Deputy Newman approached the vehicle and saw, in plain view, two piggy banks and gold coins. An inventory search of the vehicle was conducted, and deputies also recovered other items, including approximately $2,300 in cash.

Logan was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 25 years. On appeal, he argued the search of his vehicle was illegal. MCOA affirmed.


As previously stated, the piggy banks and gold coins were in plain view when Deputy Newman approached Logan’s vehicle, and the $2,300 was seized following an inventory search which was conducted pursuant to routine police procedure.

In Black v. State, 418 So. 2d 819 (Miss. 1982), the MSC held that it is permissible for officers to conduct an inventory search of a vehicle when the circumstances require it to be impounded. We find that the circumstances required that Logan’s vehicle be impounded, as he was alone in the vehicle when it was stopped.

Thus, we find no error in the trial court’s decision to admit the piggy banks and gold coins. Likewise, we find no error in the trial court’s decision to allow testimony regarding the $2,300. This issue lacks merit.

Logan also takes issue with when the inventory search occurred, arguing that the time of the inventory search was a hotly disputed topic, because it shows that there was no safe keeping of the property. Deputy Newman testified that the vehicle was searched on the day that Logan was arrested; however, the inventory report form indicates that the search occurred the day after Logan was arrested.

Deputy Newman clarified that the photographs were taken on January 5, 2004, but he did not complete the inventory report form until the following day. We note that the report also indicates that the vehicle was impounded from January 5, 2004, to January 6, 2004. Therefore, we find no merit to Logan’s argument.