Prologue “Brian, Lindsey,” Dad said, “Your mother and I have to talk to you about something.” I could sense the nervousness in Dad’s voice. I glanced over at my twin brother, Brian and by […]
“Brian, Lindsey,” Dad said, “Your mother and I have to talk to you about something.” I could sense the nervousness in Dad’s voice. I glanced over at my twin brother, Brian and by the look on his face, I could tell he sensed it too.
“Grandma is really sick and she’s going to pass away soon,” Dad continued. “This is going to be a very hard time for all of us.” I could feel tears in my eyes. Grandma loved me and Brian very much and I knew it would be very hard to say goodbye.
Things were quiet after that, and four days later, Grandma did die. Brian was a lot quieter than usual. He didn’t do the usual taunting and I avoided the usual teasing. Brian and I had a talk the night she passed.
“It’s a terrible thing that happened,” I said.
“I know,” Brian agreed, “but it happens to everyone,” and Brian started to cry. I hugged him and cried too. After that, we didn’t really fight until the safe was broken into.
I woke up to the sound of an alarm going off. The first thought that came to mind was fire. I took a deep breath but didn’t smell any smoke. I glanced at my digital alarm clock: 1:00 it said. I hurried across the hall to Brian’s bedroom. I rushed into the room and saw Brian getting out of bed.
“What is that horrible noise?” he shouted above the sound.
“I don’t know,” I shouted back. “There’s no smoke.” Together we raced downstairs to our parents’ room. They were both just leaving the room.
“What’s that sound?” I asked.
“Are you okay?” Mom ignored my question.
“I think it might be the burglar alarm.” Dad ran to the first floor to shut it off, and Brian and I followed. Dad punched a few buttons and the horrible noise stopped.
“What do you think was stolen?” Brian inquired.
“I don’t know, but we can look.” The first room I went to was the den. I switched on the light and saw that thankfully the T.V. was still there and intact. I thoroughly searched the rest of the room but everything was still there. The next room I went to was the kitchen. I looked around the room, but like the den, nothing seemed to be missing. Not even a speck of food had been touched or taken.
Brian hurried in from the living room. “Nothing,” he reported.
“Nothing,” I agreed.
“There can only be one more place.” Brian looked at the door to the basement.
“Where?” But then I realized it too. The basement safe.
I turned on the light and Brian opened the door and we ran down the stairs. The door to the storage room had been left flung open and Brian led the way inside. He gasped and then I did.
The safe, in the far corner of the room, had been broken open. The lock seemed to have been smashed. We walked over. All the family jewels were gone. Our grandma’s diamond necklace, our grandparents’ engagement rings, the pearl bracelets. “Who could have done this?” I thought. “Why would they have done this? Who knew about the safe?”
I reached up to touch the smashed lock, but Brian jerked my hand back.
“Don’t, there could be fingerprints.” I doubted it but decided not to say anything.
I heard sirens coming from outside and figured the police had arrived.
“We have to solve this mystery.” Brain loved mysteries and watched mystery movies all the time.
I looked at Brian like he was crazy, “How are we, two kids, going to solve an actual mystery?”
“Well first we have to look for clues,” Brian explained. “And remember, Grandma’s jewelry was stolen too. ”
I sighed. Brian did have a point. It was really important to get the jewelry back. “Okay. Let’s go look for clues.”
Brian pulled me up the stairs and to the back door. By that time, the police had come inside and were asking my parents questions. “He or she probably exited out of this door so he wouldn’t be seen by people on the street,” Brian told me. “There are no windows open so the intruder must have picked the lock.”
“I’ll go get my fingerprint kit. Don’t touch the door,” and he dashed up the stairs. I sighed. Yes, my brother did have a fingerprint kit.
When Brian returned, he dusted the door handle for fingerprints. “They’re all too smudged to tell the difference between them,” Brian said, “but we can look outside for clues.”
“ Maybe we should wait until the morning,” I said uneasily. “There is a robber on the loose.”
“I guess you’re right,” Brian said with disappointment in his voice.
“Lindsey, Lindsey! Wake up,” someone shouted in my ear. I opened my eyes to find my brother standing above me.
“What,” I asked groggily, tasting my morning breath in my mouth.
“We have a mystery to solve.” Brian looked at me annoyed.
I glanced at the clock: 7:00, it said. “Brian, it’s 7:00 in the morning. The mystery won’t run away from us.”
“Yes, but the robber will,” Brian pointed out and I sighed. I hated waking up early on Sunday mornings.
“I’ll get dressed,” I said.
Fifteen minutes later, Brian and I were standing at the door.
“What are we supposed to do?” I asked.
“Look for clues,” Brian replied.
I rolled my eyes. “And how are we supposed to do that?”
Brian ignored my question. “Just look for anything suspicious.” Then he opened the door and we walked outside. I followed Brian down the steps and he stopped at the last one. I was about to take a step in front of him, but he put out his arm.
“Look.” Brian pointed to a mark in the dirt next to the stairs. It was in the shape of a foot. “It’s a footprint.”
“And?” I asked. “That could be anyone’s footprint. It’s not like we can go searching the whole town for the person who made it.”
“But still, it’s our first clue.” Brian walked over to the footprint and took his backpack off his shoulder. He started to fish around in it for something.
“What are you doing now?”
“Here it is.” Brian pulled a tape measurer out of his bag. Who carries around a tape measurer? My brother was such a nerd. I walked over and watched as he measured the footprint.
“Nine inches,” he said. “Dad’s shoes aren’t as big as that.”
“How do you know it’s not a woman’s shoe?” I asked.
“It’s too wide at the toe to be a woman’s shoe.”
Oh great, I wanted to say, Now you’re a nerd who studies shoes.
“Now all we have to do is figure out who has a shoe print like this and our mystery is solved,” Brian said.
We spent the next hour after that looking for “clues,” but found none. There were no more shoe prints or any fingerprints, on the safe or anything else.
“Now we have to analyze the pieces of evidence we found,” Brian said, when we finished.
“The piece of evidence,” I corrected him. Brian pulled out his phone and opened the picture of the shoe print. The print had an interesting zigzag pattern going across it. It seemed almost familiar, like I had seen it before, but maybe I was mistaken.
“We can take this to the local stores and compare it to the other shoes that run in that size,” Brian said. “Can you go ask Dad to take us? I’ll search online for the addresses of the nearby shoe stores.”
I left the room and walked to our parents’ room. They were both sleeping soundly. I came back into the den, where Brian was sitting, typing on the computer on his lap .
“Brian, he’s sleeping,” I said.
“That’s okay,” he said, “most of the shoe stores don’t open until ten. In the meantime we can look on the website. Also, I called Pete and asked if he wanted to come over and help but he just mumbled something about being busy.”
That’s weird. Brian’s best friend Pete usually loves mysteries. But I decided to push the thought out of my mind.
“He never gives up,” I thought. I sat down on the couch next to my brother and he started to scroll down the page of men’s shoes. Not all of the shoes showed pictures of the sole, so Brian took pictures of those. Out of the ones we did see, none of them matched the footprint we found. Brian went to a different website and we did the same thing. Still, nothing.
This went on for at least an hour until I heard the sound of footsteps trudging down the stairs and the sound of the coffee grinder going. Brian rushed into the kitchen and I followed slowly after him.
“Dad can you take us to the shoe store?” Brian asked.
“I thought we were done,” I complained.
“We have to look for the shoes that didn’t have pictures of the bottom.”
“Great, more shoe hunting,” I murmured under my breath.
“Well we can go, but the police are coming to search for evidence at 10:00 and they are going to question you,” Dad said and I saw Brian freeze. “But we can go after. Do you need new shoes?”
“Well Brian wanted to try to match the foot–”
“Yes, I need new shoes,” Brian said cutting me off and then glaring at me. He had never glared at me like that before and it felt like a slap. Then Dad went back to making his coffee and I pulled Brian into the den.
“What was that about?” I asked trying to keep from shouting.
“We can’t tell Dad we found a footprint. This is our mystery. Those were our grandparents jewelry that got stolen,” Brian said. “I don’t want the police getting into our business.”
They’re the police. That’s what they do, I thought.
After that, we had breakfast and Brian barely even looked at me. The glare he gave me when he did, made me feel like an ice cube and I almost shivered. I didn’t even do anything, but Brian seems to think I ended the world, or something like that, I thought, I need to make it up to him.
When the police came, Brian hurried upstairs. I looked after him concerned but decided not to say anything. A police officer came over and started talking to Mom and Dad. I heard him asking them a few questions about who knew about the safe. Then it was my turn. I had never been questioned by the police before. I felt a tingling inside of me. The feeling I had when I was about to do something I wasn’t sure I wanted to do.
“I am Officer Hutchins and I am going to ask you a few questions about the robbery,” he said.
I felt my stomach churn but I took a deep breath. “Okay.”
Officer Hutchins took out a notepad. “How did you find out that the safe was robbed?”
“I woke up when the alarm went off but I wasn’t sure what it was. I went downstairs and my dad said it was the burglar alarm. So, my brother and I checked the rooms on the first floor to see what was stolen. We didn’t see anything in it so we checked the safe in the basement and saw that everything from it was stolen.”
Officer Higgins finished writing down what I told him and then said, “Did you know what was in the safe?”
“Did you tell anyone about it?”
I thought for a moment and then responded, “No,” but then I remembered something. I had heard Brian telling his best friend about it. Is this why he didn’t want to talk to the police? Should I tell the officer?
“Did your brother tell anyone about the safe?”
I didn’t know what to say. If I told the police, then I would completely lose Brian’s trust. I couldn’t do that. “You’ll have to ask him.” I wasn’t really lying.
“Can you go get your brother so I can ask him some questions?” asked Officer Hutchins. I nodded and hurried upstairs. When I got to his room, I knocked on the door.
“Brian,” I said, “the police want to ask you questions.” He didn’t answer so I opened the door.
“I already know who robbed the safe,” Brian said, “and it’s all my fault.”
I sat down next to him. “I’m sure that’s not true.”
“It is. I told someone about the safe. You know Pete Baker? We were downstairs and he saw it so I told him about it. I didn’t mean to. It just slipped out.” Brian looked as if he were about to cry. I felt the need to say something but I didn’t know what. “He probably told his Dad,” Brian continued, “and now the safe is robbed.”
I remembered Dad talking to Pete’s dad about investing in a new restaurant. I remember how Dad was talking to his friends about how the restaurant failed. I guess that’s why Pete’s Dad wanted to rob us.
“Maybe you should tell the police about it,” I suggested.
“But then Mom and Dad will find out and they told us not to tell anyone,” Brian argued.
“But it could help the police solve the case and catch the robber.”
“That’s why we have to solve the case first !” Brian yelled.
“Oh,” everything made sense now, “I know you don’t want to tell the police about Pete knowing about the safe but you still have to answer their questions.” Brian and I walked down the stairs and over to Officer Hutchins who was waiting in the living room.
“How did you find out the safe was robbed?” he questioned. Brian opened his mouth to answer, when Officer Hutchins’ walkie talkie buzzed. He picked it up and clicked a button, “Yes?”
There was a little static on the other end and then a voice said, “There’s been another robbery at 33 Cherry Street.”
“The interview will have to wait,” Officer Hutchins said and he grabbed the officers and left. They went speeding off in their police cars. Lights shining, sirens blaring.
“Do you think they’re related?” I wondered aloud.
“Of course they’re related. We have to go to 33 Cherry Street to look for evidence,” Brian said. 33 Cherry Street, I thought, Why did that sound familiar?
And then I remembered. “Isn’t that where one of Dad’s friends lives?”
Brian thought for a minute, “Yeah and he is one of the guys who talked Pete’s dad into that investment. I guess he really wants revenge. ”
“We have to think of away to catch him,” I said.
Suddenly I remembered one more thing. There was one last person who had talked to Pete’s dad into the investment. He lived in the house next to the park. A plan started to form in my head. “I think I know how we can catch the robber.”
I was about to tell Brian about my plan when Dad walked in. “Brian, do still want to go get new shoes?”
“Um, no it’s fine.” Brian pulled me quickly upstairs. “ So, what’s your idea.”
“What do you think about a stake out?”
We gathered up everything we needed for the stake out. Brian had told Mom and Dad that Pete had invited us to go camping in his backyard.
I watched as Brian piled things on his bed. “Do we have everything.”
Brian glanced down at the pile. “I think so.”
“Flashlights and string?”
“Nutrition bars and water bottles?”
“And most importantly, camera?”
We were all set. I helped Brian pack the things into two backpacks. We told our parents we would walk to Pete’s house. Brian and I would camp in the park and easily peak over the fence. Brian led the way and out of the house and down the street to the park. Even though it was 8:00, it was still light outside. The sun was just setting over the horizon and the sky was filled with a beautiful orange, pink, and blue glow. A summer breeze rustled through the branches of the trees in the park. I started to get that same feeling I got when I was getting interviewed by Officer Hutchins.
“Are you sure were allowed to do this?” I asked Brian uneasily.
“There’s no sign that says we can’t, but, just to be sure, let’s try not to let anyone see us.” Brian set down his backpack and the tent and plopped down next them. “Nutrition bar?” He held one out to me, but I shook my head.
I sat down next to him. “Should we set up the tent?”
“Let’s wait until it’s a little bit darker.” So there were, waiting for the sky to turn to a dark shade of blue and fill with stars. We were waiting for the crickets chirping to get louder.
Finally after a little while Brian agreed it was dark enough and we started to get everything ready. We clicked on the flashlight and zipped open the tent bag. As Brian wrestled with the poles, I laid down the tent cover. I helped put up the tent and then it was time for the camera.
I switched on the camera and fastened it onto the tripod. “Won’t it be too dark too dark?”
“That’s what the flashlight is for.” Brian flicked on the flashlight and positioned it next to the camera so it lit up the backyard of the house that was going to be robbed. Then he covered the light with a tree branch filled with leaves.
“I’m going to tie this branch in front of the flashlight so it’s not as bright,” he whispered. “Can you test the camera and make sure it’s working and ready?”
I clicked the video button on the camera and then hit the record button. I waited a few seconds and then clicked it again. I pressed the play button to watch the test. The lighting was perfect. “It’s ready,” I said as I set the camera up again. Brian finished tying a knot in the string and then we sat down in the tent.
I turned on the other flashlight. “Can we go over the plan again?” I was starting to feel nervous again. What if the plan failed? What if we scare away the robber and never get to catch him on video? What if I mess up the plan?
“We’ll take turns starting at 10:30, watching for the robber, and if we see him then we’ll turn on the camera and call the police. If the police don’t come on time then we’ll have evidence of who it is. I’ll go first.” Then Brian grabbed a nutrition bar and his phone, and left. I lay out my sleeping bag and settled down on it. Before I knew it, I was asleep.
“Lindsey, wake up.” Brian was shaking me. At first I forgot where I was but then looking around I realized we were in the tent in the park.
“Did you see him?” I asked eagerly.
“No. It’s your turn.”
I sighed as I sat up and picked up my phone from my bag. I left the tent yawning. I stood at the camera watching the screen and glancing up occasionally. I could feel my eyelids starting to droop, but I forced them back open.
I was about to give up hope that the burglar was going to come when I saw a dark figure walking carefully across the lawn.
I blinked my eyes.
Was I dreaming? But the figure was still there picking the lock on the back door. I stood silent, failing to remember what to do, but then I sprung into action, clicking the record button and then turning on my phone. I took a short glance at the time, 12:25. Then I clicked the emergency icon and tapped the numbers 911. The phone rang once and a woman’s voice said, “Please state your location and the situation.”
I quickly explained in a whisper what was going on. “Please remain calm and officers will be there shortly.” I turned off the phone hurried into the tent.
“Brian!” I exclaimed.
“Yeah.” He lifted his head slowly.
“The robber came.”
“Really!” He jerked his body up so quickly, that I thought his head would fly off. “Did you turn on the video camera and call the police?”
“Yes and yes.” My brother had no faith in me but maybe that was because I had no faith in me.
I heard sirens wailing and realized that the police must have arrived. Brian, and I scrambled out of the tent just in time to see the robber dashing out of the house. Three police cars had arrived and five policemen hurried out of them. They cornered in on the robber and he was put in handcuffs. I switched off the camera and Brian grabbed the flashlight. We hurried over as the robber was being loaded into the back of one of the police cars. I see the bottom of his shoe and realize that it matched the shoe print we found. I caught a glance of his face and as I had suspected it was Pete’s dad. He snarled at me and it sent a shiver down my spine.
“Were you the one who called the police?” one of the policemen asked Brian.
“Well, actually it was my sister.” He smiled at me and I beamed.
“Thank you,” said the officer, “that was the smart thing to do. Now how did you happen to see the robber?” Brian and I looked at each other. I guess we had a lot of explaining to do.
Our parents weren’t as proud of us as I thought they would be when we were brought home by the police. They were mostly worried.
“What were you thinking?” Dad shouted.
“You could have gotten hurt,” Mom said. I sighed. Didn’t they see we just caught a robber, and a robber who robbed us? Couldn’t they have been the slightest bit happy? At least I knew that if Grandma were here, she’d be proud.
“But we didn’t get hurt,” I pointed out. Still, we were grounded for a week. I hated being grounded, especially in the summer, but Brian just thought it was an opportunity to look for more mysteries to solve and he asked if I wanted to help. Maybe before Brian and I caught a robber together I would have said no, but now, I couldn’t wait to get started.