Title: All that glitters
By Author: Kendra Yoder
Appearing in issue #32, August 12, 2013
Tag line: The detectives expected a quick arrest in the jewelry story burglary – thanks to a reliable witness! (Do you think that’s a typo? Should that be jewelry store?)
Police characters: Deputy Steve Fisher and Officer Robin Meyer
The gist: The cops are called to the scene of a burglary of an upscale jewelry store. The glass display cases had been smashed, there was glass all over the floor, and a sledgehammer was propped against the wall. The security camera had been smashed to bits. The manager said she came in to the store early to set up for a sale and found the mess. She heard the screeching of tires out back in the alleyway and ran to look and saw Dirk’s car tearing away from the scene. She had fired Dirk a few weeks earlier. She said he knew when the store was open and also where the alarm was located and how to disarm it. The cops went to Dirk’s house and found him standing by his car, trunk open, holding a suitcase. Officer Meyer noticed he had a rental car. Dirk appeared nervous. He claimed he had just gotten back from visiting a friend and had been there for two days. He said his friend would verify this information. The cops asked him about his past record. Dirk said it was a B&E to a house and he had been 18. The deputy wanted to get a warrant to search the house, but Officer Meyer had a hunch he didn’t do it.
Crime scene: Up-scale jewelry store.
Clues: The rental car.
Suspects: Dirk and the store manager.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: Officer Robin Meyer needed to confirm when Dirk rented the car. She suspected that when the store manager had learned of Dirk’s criminal record she realized she could rob the store and pin the crime on him. Officer Meyer suspected the manager because she had said she saw Dirk’s car leaving the scene but Dirk had a rental.
My two cents: There are a few minor details I want to talk about. Some have to do with this story and some have to do with writing these stories. First, the tag line appears to have a typo in it. That’s not the author’s fault. Maybe it just reads funny?
Second thing, this author has a deputy and an officer working together. Deputies work for the county. Officers work for the city. They don’t normally ride around together and take calls from dispatch. So that was odd. I have to conclude that the author doesn’t know the difference between the two.
Next thing, there was some mention in the beginning of the story about Deputy Fisher going to Las Vegas. The author used that angle to have a theme. She ended with, “I have a feeling Vegas would have your money on this bet. “ I don’t have any problem with this tactic, but here’s where I said, huh? Officer Robin asked the deputy if he was going to Vegas to gamble, and he said no, that he was going for the sun. Then he blushed. Doesn’t seem the type to be out rousting bad guys, does it? I guess it takes all kinds but some make better story characters than others. What a wimp. Tough guys don’t blush. And most men would say they’re going to Vegas to have some fun; gamble, party with the guys, drink, and chase women. Unless he was gay. Then he could say he’s going for the shows and shopping. Wouldn’t WW have a fit? Maybe the author had more interesting things for this guy to do in Vegas, but WW threw in the sun angle to be squeaky clean. So that’s the lesson here. No adult stuff allowed…except for murder and mayhem of course. :)
Next, the jewelry store manager fired the guy because she found out he had a criminal record, but she didn’t change the alarm code? Duh.
Upscale jewelry stores check out potential employee’s criminal records BEFORE they hire them and tell them the security alarm codes. Duh again.
You don’t really need a big ole sledge hammer to break a couple of glass cases. That might have been overkill on the manager’s part.
When the cops were talking to Dirk, they asked him to tell them about his past burglary conviction, but in actuality they would have looked that up on their MDT (mobile data terminal) in their cruiser before they even got there and they would have already known all that. This part was not necessary for the story and a waste of words. Just knowing he had a past burglary record was sufficient. The reader doesn’t need to hear the details. Don’t use up your 700 words needlessly.
I know this is just a little you-solve-it story and as story tellers we don’t always follow real procedures, but just FYI: If there was a possibility they were going to arrest this guy, the police wouldn’t be asking him any questions without Miranda warnings being read first. Anything this guy says in response to police questions before Miranda would be suppressed, in other words not allowed in court. He could confess to the crime and the jury would never hear it. Cops don’t chit-chat with suspects for that very reason. Citizens don’t have to speak with the police. If you’re ever in that position, remain silent. It is your right.