Can you solve this mini-mystery?


By Joan Leotta

Kevin Locksley was a daily rider on the DC Metro. He rode the ever-moving metal stairways, always hoping they remained operational down to the platforms and up on his way home again. He was always in a hurry, running down the left side of the escalator. He was never in the mood to wait patiently on the right side of the stairway, regally riding down.

This morning Kevin was in a particular rush. Early meeting. Important. He swiped his transit pass over the gate's "hot spot," strode rapidly through the gate, and down the escalator. His feet barely touched the metal as he leapt from one silver step to another.

"Excuse me, excuse me." he muttered as he brushed by those on the right, if his briefcase nicked them as he brushed by.

Unfortunately, as Kevin neared the bottom he saw his train at the platform. The station lights were flashing. He put on a burst of speed, but the doors closed and the train sped by as he panted up to platform's edge. Kevin sighed and reached into his pocket for his wallet to store his transit pass. No wallet.

He patted his other pocket. Still no wallet.


Kevin quickly moved his hand to his suit breast pocket, then all the other pockets once more. No luck. The wallet was gone, especially upsetting since he had just withdrawn a large amount of cash from the ATM by the Metro entrance. Kevin grimaced. Probably that very transaction had made him late for his usual train. He sighed realizing that equally probably, that same transaction had caught the eye of a pickpocket.

There was the slim possibility that he had dropped the wallet. Kevin rode the elevator back up to the top level and began to pace the floor, looking for the wallet. He was now sure he had been the victim of a theft. He looked over the balcony at the platform below. Three women. Four men. Kevin closed his eyes for a moment trying to imagine which of them had come into the station when he did. A trim young Metro policewoman approached him.

"May I help you? Are you all right, sir?"

Kevin pointed to the lower platform by the train rails. "Officer, someone has just picked my pocket and I think it is one of the people down there. I know I had my wallet when I came into the station. I just put money in it from the ATM."

"Did you come into contact, feel anyone brush against you?" The young woman took a small notebook and tiny pencil out of her crisply pressed navy shirt pocket and began to write.

Kevin looked down at the platform again. "I came in, running, transit pass in hand. I bumped a couple of people going down the escalator."

Kevin thought back to his race down the escalator. He spotted the one man and two women he had passed on the escalator. All three were dressed in the requisite Washington dark suits. The man carried a briefcase in one hand and held a folded copy of the Washington Post in the other. He was pacing. One woman's right hand clasped the handles of a large red purse that matched her stiletto heels. She was standing still, looking up at the message board. "Yellow Line, 5 Minutes." The other woman, a few feet away, was also looking at the sign. The wide strap of a stylish brown leather messenger bag fell diagonally across her navy suit. Her left hand rested on the flap.

Suddenly Kevin smiled. He pointed to one of the three people and spoke to the Metro cop. "That's the person who picked my pocket. I'm sure of it." He explained his reasoning. The young policewoman nodded and hurried down the escalator.


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