The Crime

by Om Sanan, age 9
The Crime Om is nine years old and a fourth grader at The Heathcote School. His favorite subject is Math and his second favorite is Writing. Om likes writing because he gets to use his imagination.

“Breaking news… someone has stolen the precious Pink Panther diamond from the museum. According to the police chief, the video surveillance cameras do not show who stole the diamond, although they contain the entire video footage of the museum rooms, including the room where the famous Pink Panther diamond was.”

Breaking news… someone has stolen the precious Pink Panther diamond from the museum. According to the police chief, the video surveillance cameras do not show who stole the diamond, although they contain the entire video footage of the museum rooms, including the room where the famous Pink Panther diamond was. The police are surprised and aren’t sure whether there really is a thief or if this is the work of a magician!

The case is assigned to Police Detective Longbottom who, after careful review of the video surveillance cameras, comes up with the following suspects: Boris — the Russian cook, Jimmy — the security guard for the museum, Shanti — the museum janitor, Al Capone — the notorious thief, and Craig — the museum owner. Based on eyewitness accounts, Longbottom concludes that the robbery occurred on Sunday between the hours of 4:00-5:00 PM, just before the museum closing time at 5:00PM. The authorities are working on finding the criminal and are announcing a reward of $500,000 to whoever helps identify the thief or thieves.

Detective Longbottom has been solving robberies for 20+ years, and it is not lost on him that the robbery could be the work of more than one person, as it would take more than one pair of hands to steal, disable museum security systems, and tamper with the video surveillance. Indeed, the thief could have tampered with the video surveillance in a manner to assign the blame on somebody innocent. Longbottom starts investigating the suspect’s daily schedule, job profile, credit history, bank accounts, recent travel and whereabouts, and criminal history, and he prepares the following worksheet for his analysis:

After another week of investigation and analyzing the clues, Longbottom’s initial conclusions are:

  1. It’s unlikely for Al Capone to get involved in the robbery himself, especially when visiting with his family (he could have any of his underlings do this).
  2. Shanti appears apprehensive, but there are no definite clues. Moreover, she has been a janitor for 10+ years and never had an incident like this.
  3. Craig appears very helpful, and no clues point to him.
  4. Jimmy, the security guard, has been questioned repeatedly by the police, but no clues point to him. He was seen interviewing for higher paying jobs.
  5. Boris does not seem to have much motive but is a person of interest. He has been spending a lot of money since the robbery occurred. He needs to be tracked even more closely.

Longbottom obtains search warrants and starts visiting each of the suspect’s houses and interviewing the residents, including family members. He finds a bag of museum maps, wire cutters, electric wire, and tape in Boris’ car garage at home, which makes Boris a top suspect. However, Longbottom is not sure what Boris’ motive is, since he does not have prior history of theft. And how can he pull off a grand robbery without any prior experience in disabling security systems and tampering cameras? If Boris is involved, he must have gotten help — meaning there is another thief.

One day, Longbottom follows Jimmy’s car and sees him pull into a car wash, where he sits next to a person for one hour while his car is being washed. Longbottom cannot identify the person who appears to be in some form of disguise, but he’s careful to note this person’s license plate. The police department report indicates that the car belongs to Craig Edgar — the museum owner! Longbottom is surprised and thinks he should interview Craig more closely. Up to now, he thought Craig was the most unlikely suspect.

Craig sounds upset and irritated when Longbottom starts to interview him. He goes to the extent of asking Longbottom why he is not questioning Jimmy, the security guard. Craig tells Longbottom that he was not in the museum room for long and that the detective could check the video footage. This makes Longbottom wonder when and how did Craig manage to change the video tapes. He starts following Craig and learns that Craig’s girlfriend is a graphic designer. Longbottom decides to visit with Craig again.

“Have a seat. Please. Now, Craig — where were you the night the diamond disappeared?

“I was at home watching TV!”

“What program were you watching?”

“Freeform, where all the movies are!”

“Anyone with you when you were watching TV?”

“No!”

“Then we just have your word for it. How do I know you’re not lying? How do I know you weren’t out there stealing a diamond?”

“Check the camera footage!”

“I have. The camera near the gas station next to the museum captures you briefly in front of the gas station close to the time of the theft, mumbling to yourself. What do you have to say about that?”

What?! Jimmy probably came and changed it!

“Here. Take a look yourself.” Longbottom shows him the image. “Isn’t that you?”

“I just said Jimmy changed it!”

“But Jimmy works at your museum and not at the gas station next to the museum.”

“I do not know. I swear I was not there.”

“Do you happen to know a lovely housekeeper named Shanti?”

“Yes!”

“She said she saw you right at the museum when you said you were watching TV at home.”

“She is also a big, fat liar. Plus, nobody likes her!”

“I seem to like her. Everyone seems to like Shanti. But from what I can gather, very few people like you.”

“What, I thought nobody liked her in real life!”

“She’s everyone’s favorite housekeeper. But you, Craig, you have a very bad disposition, which makes you unpopular. Now, tell me about that girlfriend of yours, who you wanted to buy a diamond for but didn’t, because you decided to steal one instead!”

“No, I didn’t!”

“The police just took your girlfriend into custody, as they found video files of the museum theft in her apartment. She has confessed that she helped you and Boris steal it. The police are just picking up Boris!”

Craig is unable to speak.

Longbottom says, “Game over, Craig! By the way, that was a nice mask you gave Boris to steal the diamond.”

 

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