search of the flight bag properly within the scope of such search.
A. Propriety of the Inventory Search
We have little difficulty in disposing of the first issue. Given our holding Supra that defendant's vehicle was properly impounded, it is now well established that the inventory search of the vehicle conducted by the police subsequent to removing it to the station was proper. See e.g. South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364, 96 S. Ct. 3092, 49 L. Ed. 2d 1000 (1976); Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433, 93 S. Ct. 2523, 37 L. Ed. 2d 706 (1973); United States v. Reese, 183 U.S.App.D.C. 1, 561 F.2d 894, 903 n. 17 (1977).
B. The Scope of the Inventory Search
However, whether the scope of the inventory search properly included a search of the flight bag containing various items of contraband is an issue of a considerably more complex nature, for it requires a somewhat speculative
application and synthesis of the holdings in South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364, 96 S. Ct. 3092, 49 L. Ed. 2d 1000 (1976) and United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1, 97 S. Ct. 2476, 53 L. Ed. 2d 538 (1977).
In Opperman the Court, in a 5-4 decision, approved an inventory search of a locked car impounded for overtime parking. During the search the police discovered drugs in a closed, but unlocked glove compartment. The Court justified inventory searches as incident to the caretaking function of local police to protect the community's safety. Specifically the Court noted the searches provide: (1) protection of the owner's property while in police custody, (2) protection of police from disputes over lost or stolen property, and (3) protection of police from possible danger. Opperman, supra, 428 U.S. at 369, 96 S. Ct. 3092. In accommodating the reasonableness requirement of the Fourth Amendment to such warrantless searches of impounded vehicles, the Court pointed to the public's reduced "expectation of privacy with respect to one's automobile." Id. at 367, 96 S. Ct. at 3096. Factors listed as contributing to this reduced expectation included: (1) Pervasive and continuing governmental regulation and controls which frequently result in examination of vehicles by the police and (2) the public nature of automobile travel in which both its occupants and contents are in plain view. Id. at 368, 96 S. Ct. 3092.
As further support for the validity of inventory searches, the Court cited to numerous state and federal court decisions which have sustained such procedures. Id. at 371, 96 S. Ct. 3092. It is significant for purposes of this case that the Court chose to quote specifically from United States v. Gravitt, 484 F.2d 375, 378 (5th Cir. 1973) Cert. denied 414 U.S. 1135, 94 S. Ct. 879, 38 L. Ed. 2d 761 (1974) which stated that:
(W)hen the police take custody of Any sort of container be it an automobile, suitcase, or any other thing in which property may be stored it is reasonable to search the container to itemize the property to be held by the police. (emphasis supplied).