Teen cops a time for red.., p.16
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       Teen Cops 'A Time for Redemption', p.16

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Chapter 15

  ‘All this police work is killing my feet,’ said Josh as he bathed his feet in a bowl of steaming hot water.

  ‘You’re such a big girl Josh,’ said Brandon.

  Their bromance moment was soon interrupted by a knock on the door and Brandon asked cautiously who was there.

  ‘It’s the janitor and I need to check the bathroom plumbing,’ said the person on the other side of the door. The plumbing seemed OK to me and, as this request seemed a little suspicious, Brandon opened the door very cautiously, while I stood behind it holding a frying pan at the ready for protection. Josh was stuck with his feet in the bath so he was no use.

  As the door opened we were relieved to see Mitch standing there in the corridor.

  ‘It’s the Boss,’ said Brandon.

  ‘Can I come in?’ Mitch asked.

  Mitch had grown stubble and even gone without washing for a couple of days to get into character as the campus janitor, which was impressive.

  ‘Nice look, Boss,’ Brandon said as he closed the door behind them.

  I sent the girls a quick text to let them know Mitch had finally arrived.

  ‘Great disguise Dad,’ said Molly as she walked in and gave her dad a hug. ‘Phew you stink,’ she added pinching her nose.

  ‘If only DA Logan could see him now,’ I whispered to Molly out the side of my mouth, only not quietly enough, as Mitch glared at me. Oops! I thought.

  ‘Do you have any relevant information about the case that you’d like to share with us Scott?’ Mitch asked trying to catch me out.

  ‘Yes sir,’ I replied feeling very self-conscious at being caught whispering in class again.

  I explained about there being two carjackers according to Luis’s investigations and the two suspicious characters that Josh had seen snooping around the main car park.

  ‘Thank you Scott.’ Mitch said smirking because as usual I’d managed to talk my way out of a tricky situation.

  ‘We’ve only got two days before the start of the music festival to try to solve this case. The car parks will be overflowing with vehicles during the festival, making it easy pickings for any carjacker and that’s when we need to grab them,’ said Mitch as he punched his fist into his palm. This got our attention.

  Mitch suggested we work in pairs again and patrol the campus grounds during the night, if we really wanted to get on top of the case. It was my turn to go on the first patrol duty with Molly. Mitch and Jordan would handle the next three hour shift, Brandon and Josh the last. Somehow Luis had managed to avoid patrol duty altogether and got a full night’s sleep.

  ‘Oh and make sure you tidy your rooms please before the real janitor returns from holiday,’ Mitch added as he sat down on the couch for a cup of coffee.

  So that’s where the real janitor was. I had started to worry.

  When I stepped outside in the cold night air, I started to wish I’d brought my surveillance equipment and warm clothing. I could have done with my night vision goggles as well, because trying to see anything in the dark was proving to be very difficult. We sipped coffee from a flask to stay awake while we patrolled the grounds, paying particular attention to the main car park where the two suspects had been spotted by Josh. Unfortunately all we managed to observe during our shift was a family of rabbits eating the grass. We nearly jumped out of our skins when Mitch and Jordan crept up behind us and went ‘BOO.’

  ‘Very funny guys, you could have given me a heart attack,’ said Molly.

  ‘Did anything interesting happen?’ Mitch asked.

  ‘Nothing but a few night time creatures moving about I’m afraid’ Molly replied.

  ‘OK, you two go get some sleep,’ said Mitch patting me on the back and taking the coffee flask for himself and Jordan.

  The night patrol idea turned out to be a complete waste of time. The carjackers were obviously tucked up in a nice warm bed somewhere which is exactly where we should have been. Mitch had a hunch that the thieves might be waiting to strike when the festival began and insisted we continue the patrols.

  The next day was pretty non-eventful. We attended lessons, ate lunch with the other students trying to pick up possible leads, patrolled the campus grounds until 0530 before we gave up. Nothing had happened. We thought perhaps the carjackers had moved on to a new target, but we were about to be proven wrong as all hell broke loose at 0600.

  I’d just got to bed after my shift and had to jump straight back out again when the loud sound of screeching car tyres thundered in from the car park below our dorm.

  ‘What the hell?’ Josh asked as he sat up in his bed.

  I pushed the window open and got a face full of car fumes, making it almost impossible to see what was happening. One thing’s for sure, it was a real carjacking in progress. Mitch was first on the scene and started to chase after the thieves bare footed. It was funny to watch, but naturally I wouldn’t be the one to tell him that.

  ‘Don’t bother Boss, they’re long gone,’ Brandon shouted from the window but Mitch was relentless.

  Josh took a big breath of the burning rubber breeze and it was one of those Apocalypse Now moments, you know when Robert Duval says ‘I love the smell of napalm in the morning.’

  Brandon suggested we might want to help Mitch, but it was better if we just left him to it. Mitch did finally give up the chase as the thieves cleared the main campus gates and were gone. His feet were cut and sore from running bare footed and he hobbled back to our room to soak them in a bowl of hot water. I had a hot cup of coffee waiting for him as he collapsed on the couch.

  Mitch was furious that the thieves had managed to get away so easily. I heard another commotion from outside the window and went to take a look. A crowd of students had gathered in the car park below and I went down to join them. They were bitching about the lack of police support. If only they knew the truth but I couldn’t say anything. I asked if anyone had witnessed the incident, but once again the thieves had been too clever as nobody saw a thing. I left them to their complaining and returned to the room.

  Mitch confirmed what Luis had said earlier, that there were two suspects in the stolen vehicle and both wore racing helmets, which was fresh information, but there was no way of making a positive ID.

  ‘If we want any chance of catching them, we need to come up with a plan. Something that might lure them into a trap could work,’ said Mitch as he sat and thought.

  Josh stood up and said, ‘I’ve got an idea Boss. It’s simple really. What we need is a vehicle to use as bait, something sexy and expensive looking,’ said Josh.

  ‘Apart from the van, what else is there?’ Molly asked.

  ‘What do you drive Mitch?’ Josh asked as if he didn’t know already.

  ‘No. Not my Dodge Challenger. You can’t use that for bait. I love that car,’ said Mitch protesting strongly.

  ‘Is that the SRT8 392, sweet, but not the convertible right?’ Josh asked.

  ‘Yes and no,’ said Mitch knowing he was trapped.

  ‘For all you non petrol heads, the Challenger has a 470-hp Hemi 6.4 engine,’ Josh added.

  ‘Thanks for clearing that up,’ said Jordan.

  ‘Where’s your team spirit Mitch?’ Molly asked as she turned on him.

  ‘OK I give in. Let’s say we go with Josh’s plan and use my car as bait. My own gut feeling though, is that the thieves are unlikely to strike again so soon,’ said Mitch.

  ‘At least if the Dodge does get stolen it’s fitted with a tracking device, so we can follow the thieves,’ Mitch added knowing this would probably be his worst nightmare.

  We voted in favour of the plan, ate breakfast while we discussed the finer details then left for the days classes.

  At lunch Mitch drove the Dodge round to the car park outside the concert venue and left it in plain sight for all to see. Josh insisted on inspecting the Dodge to make sure it would actually entice the carjackers.

  ‘It’s all good, Boss,’ said Josh, which was really no comfort for Mitch.

>   Mitch looked very nervous and had to prise himself away to speak to the two security guards standing at the main gate about something important. Mitch asked if it would be OK for them to close the gates once the concert started that evening. He explained the reasons and they seemed happy to oblige. Now the trap was set, but would the thieves come out to play?

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