Can you solve this mini-mystery?


TROUBLE IN TRIPLICATE


By Richard Ciciarelli



"I don't understand," Detective Sandy Conners said. "The house was robbed and you have an eye witness. What's the problem?"

"I'll let the witness explain," Sergeant Joe Willoby said. "You'll see it's not that simple."

Willoby led Conners to a man dressed in dirty jeans and a flannel shirt.

"This is Sam Hawkes," Willoby said. "Tell Detective Conners what you told me."

Hawkes ran a hand through his salt-and-pepper hair.

"Well, this here is Edna Logan's house. She hires me to do the yardwork for her. Every Tuesday I come here to mow the lawn and tend the flower beds. Mrs. Logan, she plays bridge on Tuesdays, so she leaves her back door open and my money on the kitchen table.

"Today I got here and, as usual, I started by mowing the back lawn. Then I moved to the front yard. I just finished and put the mower on the truck. I grabbed a hoe and was making my way around back to start on the flower beds when I seen some guy running out of the house and across the back yard. He had a hand full of money.

"I went in the kitchen and saw my money gone and Mrs. Logan's cookie jar tipped over with its top off."

"Don't tell me," Conners said. "Mrs. Logan kept a lot of money in that cookie jar."

Hawkes nodded. "She kept her Social Security money in there. Didn't trust banks. Everybody in the neighborhood knows about it."

Conners sighed. "Tell me about the guy you saw running away."

"He was young, tall, athletic and dressed all in white. White shorts, white shirt, white sneakers."

"Where did he go?"

Hawkes pointed. "Into that house over there."

Conners looked at Sergeant Willoby again. "So I repeat: What's the problem?"

"Come on. I'll show you."

Willoby led Conners to the house Hawkes had pointed out and knocked on the door.

A young man dressed exactly as Hawkes had described answered the door.

"May I help you? Oh, you were here before."

"Yes," Willoby said. "I'd like to speak to you and your brothers again, please."

"Brothers?" Conners asked.

Willoby nodded. "Triplets. Identical triplets. And they have a thing about dressing alike every day."

As Willoby said that, two other tall, athletic men entered the room and stood beside their brother. All three wore white polo shirts, white shorts and white sneakers.

"See the problem now?" Willoby said. "These three are Louie, Larry and Lenny Meisner."

"Since Sergeant Willoby has been here before, I assume you know what happened."

The three men nodded in unison.

"I'd like to know which of you is who and where you were earlier this morning."

"I'm Louie," the man on the left said. "I was in the den watching television. The sports channel replays one of the baseball games from last night. I watched the Giants/Padres game."

"I'm Lenny," the man in the middle said. "I was in the office doing some research on my computer. I'm a writer and I was looking up information on ancient Greek pottery for an article I'm writing."

"I'm Larry." The last triplet said. "I was in the living room listening to CDs. When I do that I like to sit in a recliner with a mask over my eyes to keep all the light out."

"I suppose you all know about Mrs. Logan's habit of keeping money in her cookie jar," Conners said.

"The old lady told just about everybody she knew," Louie said. "That was no secret."

"Did any of you leave the house today?"

All three men shook their heads.

"Can any of you vouch for one another?"

"I don't think we saw one another since breakfast," Lenny said. "After that we all went our separate ways."

"See what I mean?" Sergeant Willoby said. "This isn't as easy as it seems."

"Sure it is," Conners said. "I can tell you right now which of these men stole Mrs. Logan's money."


HOW CAN CONNERS DETERMINE WHICH TRIPLET
WAS THE THIEF?

Please click here to reveal the answer.


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