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Man suspected of burglary in Atascadero

A man suspected of burglary in Templeton was arrested when police found him hiding in a riverbed after investigating reports of burglary involving a man wearing camouflage and carrying a machete. Authorities discovered that a local home had been burglarized and began a search for the suspect. The California Highway Patrol helicopter provided support while the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's deputies, assisted by K-9 units, conducted the search.

He was found in a riverbed at the side of Highway 101 in Atascadero and was armed with a hunting knife. He surrendered the weapon after police gave him a command to drop it. The suspect was arrested for being under the influence. Police are continuing their investigation to determine if the burglary was also perpetrated by the suspect. Charges have not been filed.

In a case in which there is no hard evidence to the actual crime, the police cannot simply charge a suspect because he happened to be near the crime scene. The police will need to collect evidence that ties the suspect to the crime scene in order to charge him with burglary. Even the fact that he was found with a knife in his hand does not prove that he was the same man reported to be carrying a machete in town.

A criminal defense attorney looks at the evidence the police collect to determine if the suspect can present a valid defense to any charges brought against him or her. Criminal defense lawyers hold law enforcement authorities and prosecutors accountable for proving the charges against a defendant by questioning the procedure for collecting evidence. If there is a chance that evidence has been tainted or improperly collected, a criminal defense attorney can argue on behalf of the defendant's rights.

Source: Cal Coast News, "Machete wielding burglar arrested," Nov. 9, 2012

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