This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).






State of Minnesota,





Joel Ryan Bergren,



Filed June 12, 2001


Kalitowski, Judge


St. Louis County District Court

File No. K398601124


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Kelly O’Neill Moller, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103-2106; and


Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, 100 North Fifth Avenue West, #501, Duluth, MN 55802-1298 (for respondent)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Jodie L. Carlson, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant Joel Ryan Bergren challenges his conviction of fourth-degree controlled substance crime contending the search warrant application did not provide the district court with a substantial basis to determine probable cause existed to search his home.  We affirm.



            We review the district court’s determination of probable cause to ensure that there was a substantial basis to conclude that probable cause existed.  State v. Harris, 589 N.W.2d 782, 788 (Minn. 1999).  “Substantial basis” in this context means a “fair probability,” given the totality of the circumstances, “that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.”  State v. Zanter, 535 N.W.2d 624, 633 (Minn. 1995) (citation omitted).  Great deference is given to the issuing judge’s determination of probable cause, and this court should not subject that determination to a rigorous de novo review.  State v. Wiley, 366 N.W.2d 265, 268 (Minn. 1985).

            Appellant contends the district court should have suppressed evidence seized from his residence because the information provided by the confidential reliable informants (CRI) did not demonstrate their bases of knowledge, or the veracity of CRI #2’s statements.  We disagree.  To determine probable cause, a magistrate “must consider the ‘veracity’ and ‘basis of knowledge’ of persons supplying hearsay information.”  State v. Souto, 578 N.W.2d 744, 750 (Minn. 1998) (citation omitted).  In assessing a CRI’s veracity and basis of knowledge, “[a]ll of the facts relating to the informant should be considered in weighing reliability.”  Id. at 750 (citation omitted).

Here, the record indicates that:  (1) a burglary was reported to the police where several items were taken, including a VCR, jewelry, and a copy of the movie “Titanic”; (2) a second burglary occurred in Gnesen, near the location of the first burglary, and the victim reported that two men had stolen a cellular phone from her car.  When the police recovered the phone, they redialed the last number called from it and determined that this phone number belonged to an associate of appellant’s family; (3) the mother of the woman who had her cellular phone stolen viewed a photo lineup and positively identified appellant as the thief; (4) the police found a disabled vehicle located near the residence of the second burglary.  In the vehicle were a copy of the movie “Titanic” and a photo of appellant; (5) police spoke with a man who lived near the location of the disabled vehicle, and he told them that, earlier, two men had come to his home and asked to use his phone to call for help for their disabled vehicle.  The police redialed the last number called from this phone and retrieved the number of an individual who lives at the same address as two associates of appellant; (6) the man who lived near the disabled vehicle viewed a photo lineup and identified appellant as one of the two men who had used his phone; (7) within 72 hours of the police applying for a warrant to search appellant’s home, CRI #1 informed the police that appellant possessed stolen property that he had “taken while committing a burglary in the Gnesen area.”  This stolen property consisted of a VCR, jewelry, and a television; (8) the police included in the warrant application details concerning the past reliability of CRI #1; and (9) CRI #2 corroborated CRI #1’s statement by informing the police that appellant often engaged in selling stolen property and that he had recently offered to sell CRI #2 stolen property.

These substantial facts establish the necessary probable cause linking appellant to the two burglaries.  Moreover, the information provided by the informants was both sufficiently detailed and independently verified by independent police investigation.  See State v. Cook, 610 N.W.2d 664, 668 (Minn. App. 2000) (noting that the judge issuing the warrant should consider the detail contained in the CRI’s report and if the police independently verified the informant’s report).

We reject appellant’s contention that even if the evidence demonstrates that he is a suspect, there is not sufficient evidence that stolen property from the burglaries would be found at his residence. Minnesota courts have required a “direct connection, or nexus, between the alleged crime and the particular place to be searched.”  Souto, 578 N.W.2d at 747-48 (citations omitted).  But courts have recognized that a suspect normally would store stolen items at his house.  State v. Flom, 285 N.W.2d 476, 477 (Minn. 1979).  Because of the overwhelming evidence connecting appellant to the burglary, we conclude the district court properly determined there was probable cause to issue a search warrant for appellant’s residence. 

Finally, we also reject appellant’s contention that the warrant application improperly contained prejudicial information concerning his criminal history.  While appellant’s “criminal history cannot, by itself, establish probable cause,” it may be considered by the district court as “one factor in the totality of relevant circumstances.”  State v. Lieberg, 553 N.W.2d 51, 56 (Minn. App. 1996) (citations omitted) (finding defendant’s entire history of criminal behavior—not only convictions—helpful and properly considered as one factor in the totality of relevant circumstances for finding probable cause).  Here, the warrant application included information concerning appellant’s association with a street gang, a police stop where weapons and burglary tools were found in appellant’s car, and his suspected connection with 21 burglaries and thefts.  Because this information supports the allegation that appellant was involved in a burglary, we conclude that it was properly considered as one factor in the district court’s determination of probable cause.