Can you solve this mini-mystery?


By Richard Ciciarelli

Lieutenant Janet Norcross pulled up in front of Powers' Pawn Shop, exited her squad car and approached Sergeant Jake Wiley.

"What have we got?"

"Paul Powers, owner of the shop here, was stabbed to death. Cash drawer is empty. Looks like a robbery/murder."

"Any suspects?"

"Maybe. We have an eye witness over there." Wiley pointed to a man leaning against a car. "Name's David Phelps."

"Mr. Phelps," Norcross called, "I understand you saw what happened."

"Not really," Phelps said. "I was heading for the wine store next door when the door to the pawn shop came flying open with a bang. A guy came rushing out and slammed into me. I got spun around and almost fell."

"Did you get a look at him?"

"Not from the front. By the time I regained my balance he was running down the street." Phelps pointed south. "All I could see was somebody in jeans and one of those hooded sweatshirts with the hood pulled up."

"Could you describe him further?"

"He was about my height. From the way he was running I'd guess he was fairly young. Twenties, maybe."

Norcross turned to Sergeant Wiley. "Get an APB out on anyone in this area fitting that description. I'm going to check out the crime scene."

She then turned and went to the front door of the pawn shop. Pushing the door open carefully so as not to smudge any possible fingerprints, Norcross walked in to see a room filled with glass show cases containing everything imaginable.

On the floor in the back lay Paul Powers; a medical examiner was checking his dead body.

"Stabbed once in the heart," the ME said. "Looks like the knife came from there." He pointed to an empty sheath that lay on a counter top.

Norcross checked out the open and empty cash drawer, carefully avoiding the forensics men who were dusting for fingerprints.

Back outside, the lieutenant approached David Phelps again. "If we get any suspects, I'd like you to come to headquarters to see if anyone looks familiar."

The next day three young men sat in an interrogation room.

"Is Phelps here?" Norcross asked. When Sgt. Wiley nodded, she continued, "Good. I'll want him to check these guys out after I question them."

Norcross entered the interrogation room and sat down.

"I'll need your name," she said to the man on her left.

"Charles Boxley."

"Have you ever been in Powers' Pawn Shop?"

"Sure. Lots of times. I'm in a band and we get our instruments there. I bought a guitar and another guy got a bass. We've been looking for amps, but Paul didn't have any. The last time I checked was last week."

"How about you?" she asked the man in the middle.

"I'm Jim Carruthers. I've never been in that shop. I go by it a lot, though. I work down the block, so I walk past it every day going to work and coming home again. I think I saw this guy coming out once." He pointed to the man on his left.

"Is that right?"

"Yeh. My name is Phil Garman. I lost my job a couple of months ago, so I've been pawning some stuff to get money to stay afloat. I got rid of a gold chain and a ring my ex-girlfriend gave me. Paul was a good guy. He gave me a fair price for them."

Norcross thought a minute and then pushed herself away from the table.

Back in the hallway Sgt. Wiley asked, "You want Phelps to look at these guys now?"

"It won't be necessary. I think I know who robbed and killed Paul Powers."


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