Teen cops a time for red.., p.15
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       Teen Cops 'A Time for Redemption', p.15

           D Rossmaur
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Chapter 14

  I doubt any of us got much sleep that night, which can’t be good for the start of our first case. There was just enough time for a quick breakfast and coffee before we had to load the final few essentials in the van. Josh was already outside fussing around the van, insisting he needed to achieve the correct front to back weight ratio in order to maximise engine efficiency, one of his minor OCDs. I just handed him my bag and left him to get on with it. Josh managed to leave enough room to squeeze a dirt bike in the back of the van, ‘because you never know when it might come in handy’. His words not mine.

  Once everything was loaded, Luis locked the house securely and set the alarm. There was a direct CCTV feed from the house to a secure server in the precinct, so hopefully we had 24hr surveillance. Just as well when you consider how much expensive equipment there was inside. Luis drove the first leg of the journey and was taking it nice and easy to give us time to ‘panic read’ through the ‘important’ case file that Mitch had given each of us before the weekend.

  Josh drove from the halfway point while Luis sat in the back with us, to go over our cover stories. As soon as these formalities were out the way, it was time for a good old fashioned sing along. Josh tuned the radio to the local rock station and we did a little radio karaoke to pass the time. I looked out of the window to admire the sheer beauty of the Washington State landscape. We had everything from lakes to mountains, ancient forests to wonderful beaches. No offence to California, my home state, but this is way better. We reached Long Valley College just before 0815 and the place looked pretty cool with plenty of pretty girls. I was first out of the van to admire the local scenery, if you get my meaning.

  ‘Hey Scott, a little help here please,’ Luis asked as he started to unload the band equipment by the rear entrance of the concert venue.

  I took off my sunglasses and lent a hand. Luis wanted to store the equipment in the concert venue. This would give us an opportunity to have a few private rehearsal sessions before our gig on Thursday. Unfortunately we couldn’t hang around for too long as classes were starting soon. We arranged to get our personal things from Luis at lunch time.

  ‘OK you guys go and do your thing, I can manage,’ said Luis.

  Luis was posing as both the band’s manager and as a mature student for his undercover activity, so he could wander round campus to conduct his own private investigation. Mitch was supposed to be meeting us at the college, but there was no sign of him yet. I’m sure he would show soon enough.

  ‘Hey you know something I don’t miss?’ Brandon asked as we hurried to class.

  ‘No, what’s that?’ Jordan replied.

  ‘Facebook and all those other social networking sites that used to completely consume my life,’ said Brandon.

  Brandon was right, our lives had been taken over by the social networking sites and it was actually a relief when Mitch told us we had to stay off the social radar for a while. No more ridiculous tweets for me. We were also barred from having any social media presence for the band, but we couldn’t prevent anyone else from setting up an unofficial site.

  ‘See you at lunch guys!’ Molly shouted as she disappeared into one of the buildings for the start of her first class.

  DA Logan had arranged our classes with the College Dean and he was the only one who knew about our operation on the campus. But what he didn’t know was that we were also the headline act for Thursday night’s concert as this was our little secret. Josh made his way to the vehicle mechanics class. Hog’s heaven for him, while I attended advanced computer science classes. What a geek. Brandon was studying sports therapy (yawn), Molly was studying journalism and Jordan was on the film study course. This way we had a better chance of meeting a wide variety of students in the hope of finding some positive leads in the case.

  Although the morning’s lessons were OK, we were really only going through the motions as we had no intention of doing any homework. We skipped a meal during lunch break in order to go and get our things from Luis. He was already waiting by the van and as we approached, we looked around to make sure nobody was watching before taking our bags. We made our separate ways to the dorm rooms to unpack. I was sharing a room with Brandon and Josh, while the two girls shared a room down the hall. Luis was in a room by himself between both. I hung my clothes up and peeped out the dorm window to get my bearings. The room had a perfect view of the main car park and concert venue, which could prove to be useful.

  The afternoon’s class schedule was pretty light for all of us and we arranged to meet outside the campus library at 1530 to kick start the investigation.

  ‘See you there at 1530,’ I said as we went our separate ways to class.

  We decided it was best to split into pairs as we began the afternoon’s investigation. I was paired with Molly, Brandon worked with Josh and Luis joined us to be paired with Jordan. The finishing point for the day would be the campus cafe at 1830 so we could have dinner together. Our weapons remained safely locked away in the van for now. Mitch had given us strict instructions not to carry any weapons unless it was deemed ‘absolutely necessary.’

  We used our Blackberry phones to communicate with each other. These were meant to be used strictly for work purposes only but as the monotony of the days investigative work wore on, I received a video of Brandon shooting a few hoops on the basketball court. Hardly work I know. I sent him a quick text back to ask a question.

  ‘Something I just thought about Brandon. We’ve only performed in front of friendly crowds before, apart from Albany Prison. Do you think paying guests will like us?’ I asked.

  ‘Try to think about all those screaming girls,’ Brandon replied.

  ‘And the gorgeous guys,’ Jordan added as she joined the text discussion.

  ‘Naturally,’ Brandon replied.

  Jordan was sitting on the grass by the library talking with some of the students while Luis inspected the car parks for anything he thought might appear suspicious. We were all gathering Intel in some shape or form, although it might not seem like it. Molly and I headed for the library, not to read a book, don’t be silly, but to find Jordan and Luis as it was almost 1820.

  ‘Did you find out anything interesting?’ Molly asked Jordan.

  ‘Not really, just that most of the students I spoke to were reluctant to venture out at night because of the carjackings, which we already knew about from the DA,’ Jordan replied.

  We met the others at the cafe to compare what little notes we had. Josh was hungry and needed to eat before we could do anything so we joined him in the food line.

  ‘Boy I actually miss school life,’ said Molly as she stood behind me.

  ‘Hmm and I really miss school food,’ said Josh as he piled his plate high.

  ‘Where’s Jamie Oliver when you need him,’ I said as the food looked fairly unhealthy to me although, having said that, it actually tasted pretty good.

  Luis grabbed a table for us by the window and we joined him.

  ‘How’s your day been?’ Luis asked as we sat down.

  It had been pretty fruitless really with nothing of any significance to report. Brandon it seems managed to get phone numbers from two girls, much to Jordan’s disgust.

  ‘Kudos dude,’ said Josh as they banged knuckles. Molly whacked him on the arm for leading the girls on.

  ‘Old habits die hard,’ said Brandon as he defended himself.

  ‘Do you guys know how many party invitations I’ve had to turn down, all in the line of duty?’ I said trying to get in on the conversation. Molly laughed as she’d been with me for most of the day and knew the answer was none.

  ‘Oh thanks,’ I said feeling hurt.

  ‘I found out from asking one of the lecturers, that two thieves were seen in the stolen vehicles,’ Luis added as he’d obviously been talking to the right people.

  This information was useful as it could mean that we were dealing with a gang and not a lone carjacker. Josh thought he might have a lead as well, ‘I did see a couple of older
students hanging around the car park looking at the cars. I only noticed them because I was doing the same thing,’ Josh said.

  He’d managed to take a photo on his Blackberry which he circulated amongst us.

  ‘We should forward this to HQ for them to analyse on the facial recognition software,’ said Luis, which was a good idea.

  It was highly unlikely that these two suspects were the actual carjackers as the real ones were far too clever to be caught hanging around car parks. But to be thorough we decided to follow up on every lead and Josh volunteered to take point on this one.

  ‘To recap, we must assume that there are at least two carjackers involved in the thefts and we might also have a couple of suspects living here with us on campus that Josh has spotted,’ I said stating the obvious.

  This was enough to share with Mitch when he finally showed up, but where was he? Molly was starting to get a little concerned as Mitch should have been with us by now. We finished our meal and walked back to the dorm to try to contact him.

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