Detective Anne Blake entered the jewelry store to find the forensics team at work as the mall security guard, Bob Shaw, watched attentively from the doorway.
“What happened here, Shaw?” Detective Blake asked.
“I’m not completely sure,” he admitted, scratching his head. “Tonight was the mall’s annual trick-or-treat event where kids from town dress up in their costumes and go from store to store to get candy. After all the stores shut down, I made sure all the little ones had left. I was making my rounds when I noticed the glass door to the jewelry store was still open. I walked in and there was a girl lying on the floor, unconscious. I found that white cloth by her head,” he sighed.
“Chloroform?” Blake asked. Shaw nodded. “Then what happened?”
“I picked the girl up, took her into the back room where there’s a sofa, and then I called the police. I did a quick look around and noticed the display case at the front of the store was empty, but the key was still in the lock.”
“Any idea who could have done this?” Blake asked.
“No way to be sure,” Shaw answered ruefully. “Besides the kids and their parents here tonight, there were a lot of senior citizens walking the mall, as usual. Maybe one of them saw something.”
“Could one of the seniors have been our thief?” Blake asked curiously.
Shaw shook his head. “Likely not, but I suppose it’d be worth it to ask around.” Blake nodded. Just then a young woman came out from the store’s back room, walking unsteadily and holding her head.
Detective Blake stepped forward and gently shook her hand. “May I ask your name?” “Lucy Cray.” “Could you tell us what happened here, Miss Cray?” The girl drew a long sigh. “I was in the back room putting today’s sales money in the safe after the trick-or-treaters left. I guess I forgot to close and lock the door. It was a careless thing to do, I know, but I’ve only worked here a week and the mall seemed like a safe enough place.” She glanced down at her hands. “Anyhow, while I was back there, I heard a noise out front. I thought it might be a late customer. Before I’d taken two steps out of the office, someone grabbed me from behind and held a cloth over my face. I passed out and just woke up a minute ago.” “Did you see who grabbed you, by chance?” “No. I’m afraid not.” “Could you tell anything about this person?” She paused. “Well, when my face was covered with that cloth I saw the hand holding it was wearing a glove. And now that I think of it…my head was pulled backward and held against a man’s chest.” “That gives us an idea of how tall your attacker was. Now would you be able to tell us what was in that empty display case?” Blake asked, gesturing over Lucy’s shoulder.
“That’s where we keep our top-of-the-line watches, and some of the most expensive earrings in the store.”
“Easier to pawn than diamonds or other jewels,” Blake observed. “And where did that key come from?”
“He must have taken it off me,” Lucy said, gesturing to her wrist. “I always keep it here on an elastic band where it’s handy.”
“Thank you,” Blake said. “If that’s all you can think of, you’re free to go home.”
“Thank you,’ Lucy said. “And thank you, Mr. Shaw, for taking me to the sofa where I’d be safe. I don’t know how I’m going to tell my boss.”
“Don’t worry,” Blake said. “We’ll do that.”
“Now what?” Shaw asked. “Do we interview the senior mall walkers to see if they noticed anything?”
“That won’t be necessary,” Blake said, smiling. “I already know who did it.”
— Richard Ciciarelli
Q: Who is the jewelry thief?
“No, I didn’t remodel the kitchen. I washed the away” dishes and put them