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38

Fleeced

In front of Bens brownstone, a patrol car was waiting with its lights flashing. When Regan and Thomas rounded the corner, the stark reality of the situation hit Thomas like a wet blanket. A small moan escaped from his lips.

Regan hurried over to the car and introduced herself. Squawks were emanating from the radio. There was no doubt the presence of the patrol car was attracting attention.

Officer Dowling, a friendly young cop, greeted Regan and Thomas and walked with them to the outside door. They buzzed, but there was no answer. Dowling unlocked the door, and the three of them hurried up the stairs to Bens apartment.

As soon as Dowling pushed open the door and turned on the lights, they all gasped. The place had been ransacked. Drawers in the living room were pulled open, their contents thrown all over the floor.

Oh my God! Thomas cried.

Looks like a B and E, Dowling said. He got on the radio and called it in.

Regan and Thomas walked down the hall in disbelief, turning on lights as they went. The bedroom and den were also torn apart. The kitchen must be at the other end, Regan said, leading the way through the dining room to the kitchens swinging door. She flicked on the light.

Janeys coat! Thomas cried. And the carry bag for the food! He ran over and stroked her coat lovingly. Oh, Janey, he cried. Janey!

In here!

Thomas looked as if hed seen a ghost. Or at least heard one. Regan felt pretty startled herself.

Janey! Where are you?

In the closet!

By now Officer Dowling was also in the kitchen. Thomas pulled on the closet door, but it was locked.

Were going to have to get some equipment to break down the door. This is a heavy one, Dowling observed.

Janey, well get you out. But what are you doing in there? Thomas asked.

Janey started to cry. Its a long story.

Does it have something to do with roast chicken?

Yes, she answered feebly.

Thomas turned to Regan and mouthed the words, Waste not, want not.


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