Police Chief Tony Betts was sitting behind his desk going over the reports on the robbery that had happened earlier in the day. Chief Betts was tired, wondering for the hundredth time that day why someone would come to his town and rob their bank. Chief Betts had grown up in this town, he knew everyone and everyone pretty much knew him. He read again the statement from Gina Davis, one of the tellers at the bank, how she had seen the man come in through the door with a mask over his face. It was a winter ski mask, black in color. He had come into the bank at 3:25 pm. Right before they would have locked up the lobby doors. The report gave the description of a man six foot three inches tall with a husky build. The suspect had passed a note that said, “I have a gun and I will kill you. Hand over all the money.” The note had been written with a blue ballpoint pen on a torn piece of notebook paper. The suspect had taken the note with him. “Damn,” Chief Betts softly swore at that point. The detectives had scoured the video tapes and had seen what she had described. No distinguishing features could be seen due to having gloves on and an oversized camouflage jacket. At this point Tony sat back in his chair and rubbed his face with his hands. He noted he had now grown more than a five o’clock shadow on his face. It was nearing midnight and he was still going over the evidence. He knew that he should have gone home hours ago, but this case bothered him. The fingerprints they had gathered at the crime scene and all the evidence they had picked up was at this minute being analyzed but so far no hits on any prints. There was a soft knocking on his office door. Chief Betts looked up to see his newest deputy Chuck Reed, who had been there for two years, stuck his head in the door and said, “Chief, you still here? Why don’t you go home? There isn’t anything more you can do tonight.”Chief Betts had known Reed since he had moved to town Three years ago to join the police force. It had taken him a year to get hired on after finishing up his training. Chuck was a young dark haired man who had his whole life ahead of him. Chief Betts felt as if he had passed most of his by already. Six years in the military and twenty years on the police force was finally taking its toll on him, his salt and pepper hair was receding; Tony’s steel blue eyes had a way of looking at someone as if he could see all of your secrets and knew what you were thinking. It had cracked many a suspect into telling him exactly what he wanted to know. Chief Betts studied Reed a minute before saying, “You’re probably right Reed, not until we get a hit on one of the prints lifted anyway.” Chief Betts stood up and stretched his tired aching back. His knee gave him trouble if he sat in one place too long. He reached down to his desk and closed the file. He pulled his jacket off the back of his chair and walked over to his door. Chief Betts flicked off his light to his office and walked out the door and pulled it firmly shut behind him. The sound of the soft snick of the lock sliding into place sounded loud in the quiet office. Chief Betts turned to Deputy Reed and said, “Good night Reed,”“Good night Chief,” Reed replied as he walked back to the front desk. Chief Betts turned when he reached the front door and said to Reed, “Let me know if we get any hits will you? Good night Reed,” Reed nodded before turning back to the computer on his desk. The night sky was black overhead. Chief Betts knew he wouldn’t be able to see any stars until he was out in the country so he climbed into his Ford Explorer and shut the door. He sat there a minute, the case still running through his mind. Finally shaking his head, he started the car and headed home. Chief Betts lived on the edge of town with his wife, LaDonna, who had had been married to for twenty eight years. They had been good years too. Two boys grown and out on their own. Tommy, the eldest, had joined the Air Force and Larry; the youngest by two years, had joined the police academy but had decided he didn’t want to work in Jordan, Iowa. “Not enough action!” Larry had told him once. Larry had joined the force in Des Moines, Iowa. Chuckling, Chief Betts wondered what Larry would think of today’s events. He pulled into his driveway and saw the porch light on. His muscles were already starting to relax. He always loved coming home. It was the one place where he could go and shut out the world. He could find his peace here. Tony climbed out of his vehicle and walked up the sidewalk to the front porch of his house. He opened the door and went inside. Across town, a man lay awake in his bed with his wife beside him. His two children sleeping in their rooms down the hall, the baby monitor on his wife’s side of the bed on the nightstand. Their son John was four but little Amy was only seventeen months old. He knew he had to get up in a few hours and open the store. He was a locksmith by trade. His wife, Andrea, was a teller at the local bank but had been gone that afternoon due to the baby’s doctor appointment for the wellness check-up. Pat Hoover had panicked when he had heard that the bank had been robbed. He had been out on a call to unlock a woman’s car whose keys had been locked inside. He had called her right away when he had heard it come over the scanner in his truck. He had forgotten that she wasn’t at the bank that afternoon. Relief had flooded through him when he had heard her voice on the other end of the line. Andrea reassured him he was fine and at the Doctor’s office. Andrea had been worried about her co-workers of course. Pat had told her that everyone was alright from what he had heard over the scanner. Pat had moved to Jordan, Iowa from Kansas City, Kansas fifteen years ago. He had met and married Andrea after 5 years in Iowa. He felt like he had a pretty good life here. Pat also had a secret. The next day Chief went into the station where he was greeted by Deputy Reed. “Any news on the fingerprints we lifted yesterday?” Captain Betts asked in hopes they had maybe gotten something. “Yeah we did but it’s a pretty old file. The person in the file is prior military. He is an out of stater. I tried looking the person up but it’s like he fell off the earth fifteen years ago.” Deputy Reed said. Chief Betts stopped by the desk and took the printout from Reeds outstretched hand. “Are there any priors on him?” Chief Betts asked. “Only thing mentioned is he might be a suspect in a robbery gone wrong. They didn’t have any cameras on the place that had been robbed, just a little mom and pop store in a rundown part of the neighborhood in Kansas City. The only clear set of fingerprints was this guy but they couldn’t tie him to it. Other than that he is clean,” Deputy Reed replied. Chief Betts walked to his office with the file in his hand. The name on the header of the file was “Patrick Heaverlo” listed as a missing person since 1996 from Kansas. There were no photo’s just fingerprints and a social security number. Next of kin showed he had a twin brother and a mother back in Kansas. Once again he pulled out the robbery file to look over the photos of the people they did have. He found the prints that were marked as being found. Several questions ran through his mind. ‘What are the chances this guy just happened to blow through town in the week they had the robbery.’ Chief Betts thought to himself. He thought of all the people in town and tried to picture who might have something to hide. No one came readily to mind. Chief Betts hit the intercom button on his desk to buzz his deputy, “Do we have footage from the bank yet?” A female voice came back over the intercom. “Yes, but I don’t know if it will help. We didn’t’ get a very good look at his face. He kept his head down, avoiding the cameras.” Chief Betts recognized Deputy Green’s voice. “Where is Reed?” Chief Betts asked again. “He went home, some of us have a life outside of the station Chief,” was Green’s reply. Captain Betts could almost hear her smiling at the intercom. “I want to look at the last couple of days. I want to see if maybe we can see the owner of these prints.” Chief Betts said into the speaker before lifting his finger again. Deputy Green walked in a few minutes later with the disc that had the footage from the bank on it. “Do you think the Patrick guy did it?” Deputy Green asked when she set the disc on his desk. “No, remember, they said the suspect had gloves on. This guy didn’t. I just want to see who he is. I want to see if we can put a face to the mystery guy.” Tony slipped the disc into his computer as Green left the room. The robbery was getting to be more and more complicated the further they went into it. The Feds had shown up yesterday, made a cursory investigation. Due to there not being anyone harmed, they left the investigation to the local cops. That was alright by Chief Betts because sometimes when you get more than one agency working on a case they can tend to step on each other’s toes. Chief Betts smiled at the thought of the last time they had worked together on a case. It had been solved but there had been a bit of friction between the two agencies. Chief Betts spent the next several hours going over the footage for the last few days on the bank robbery before finally turning it over to the techs. He had seen a few faces he wanted to talk to just for routine questioning. Still no one had jumped to mind when he watched the footage. Betts had hoped to see someone maybe casing the bank before the robbery but he couldn’t see anyone new or lingering around longer then they should have been. Chief Betts decided to try reaching out to the missing person’s next of kin listed on the file. It took only a few minutes to find out that Patrick’s mother had passed away a couple of years ago and the brother was doing hard time in the state pen in Kansas. Betts told Green to contact the Kansas state pen and get a picture of the twin. Maybe they could find him that way. See if he looked similar to anyone in town. Chief Betts left the office and headed out to talk to the first person on his short list. One by one Chief Betts talked to the ones he had added to the list from those who he had seen on the video, listing only the ones who had moved there in the last fifteen years. Betts had reached the third person on his list. Pat Hoover, local locksmith. Pat had worked for the Switch family locksmith store for the last twelve years. A year ago when old man Switch had retired he turned over the business to Pat. Vernon Switch hadn’t had any family to leave it to so he left it to Pat to run. Chief Betts pulled up to the one story ranch house and sat in his car. He knew that it was around supper time but he wanted to cross this person off of his list before he went back to the office. He climbed out of his car and walked up to the door. He knocked on it and waited. Soon it was answered by a pretty, blonde haired young woman who Chief Betts knew to be Andrea. “Why hello Chief, what brings you here this late in the evening?” Andrea asked with a soft smile on her face. “Evening Andrea, I was wondering if Pat was home. I need to speak to him a minute.” Chief answered. “No he got a call and had to go out again. He should be back after a while though. Is everything alright?” Andrea asked looking a bit concerned. “Yes, everything is alright Andrea, just checking up on a few leads. I was hoping maybe Pat could help us out is all. Would you let him know I will stop by the lock smith store tomorrow? Say around ten am? Have a good evening Andrea,” Chief Betts said as he walked down the two steps and walked back to his car. Chief Betts sat in his car, making a note to talk to Pat tomorrow at the store. Tiredly he turned the key to start the car and headed back to the station. The next morning Chief Betts arrived at the station to see Deputy Reed behind the front desk again. “Morning Chuck, any luck on the photo from Kansas state prison?” Betts asked as he headed towards his office. “We just got it in, I am sending it to your in-box in your e-mail,” Deputy Reed informed him. Chief Betts breathed a heavy sigh. He never really did get along very well with computers. Finding his email was the last thing he wanted to do this morning. “Reed, bring me a coffee!” Chief Betts said over his shoulder as he heard the distinct sound of Reed chuckling under his breath. It was very well known throughout the office that Chief Betts and computers didn’t always see eye to eye. “Yes sir,” Reed said as he got up from his desk to go get the coffee. Chief Betts sat in his chair and prepared to find his e-mail. Fifteen minutes later he was looking at the photo of the man who was the twin brother of Patrick Heaverlo. Paul Heaverlo was heavily tattooed with a few scars thrown in for good measure. Chief Betts sat back in his chair and looked at the face on the screen. It didn’t’ take much of an imagination to strip away the tattoos and picture what he would look like without. Chief Betts looked at the clock and decided he had better head over to the Switch locksmith shop. At a few minutes before ten in the morning Chief Betts pulled into the parking spot in front of the store. A bell over the door jingled as he opened the door. Walking into the store was almost like stepping back into time. The wooden floor boards creaked when you walked on them. The smell of oils and metal shavings permeate the building. It was a soft smell that was pleasant. There were tools, keys and various household locks as well as building locks covering every inch of wall space. Placards hung on the wall behind the counter showing insured by or successfully completing various courses as well as a few stating “the best lock smith store in the state of Iowa.” Chief Betts saw Pat at the counter filling out paperwork on what he assumed was his last call. When Pat looked up Chief Betts could see dark rings under his eyes. He looked as if he hadn’t slept much in the last couple of days. “Hello Chief, Andrea said you wanted to talk to me? Have you caught the guy who robbed the bank?” Pat asked. “Hi Pat, no we haven’t gotten anything yet but we are hopeful we will get our break soon.” Chief Betts replied. Betts watched as Pat finished filling out the form. Finally, seeming unable to concentrate, Pat put the paperwork aside. “How are you and Andrea doing? It had to have been a pretty scary thing for her.” Chief Betts said to Pat. Pat looked at the Chief to see if his words were sincere or not. He must have decided they were, “She wasn’t there when it was robbed, the baby had a wellness checkup that afternoon so she was away during the robbery,” Pat said as he rubbed his hands over his face. “I had forgotten that she wasn’t there and almost panicked when I had heard it over the scanner.” Pat was still visibly shaken at the thought of her being there during the robbery. Chief Betts leaned on the counter and looked around at the walls as he spoke to Pat. “I have a hypothetical question for you Pat, nothing to do with the robbery by the way, but suppose someone had moved to town, oh say fifteen years ago, would they have been leaving behind a life of crime or just getting away from a bad place. The only reason I ask is if there were a missing person report, the only reason I could continue to search for this person is if they were kidnapped, or a medical reason or they had a criminal history.” Chief Betts finished speaking and was looking right at Pat with that stare. Pat seemed caught off guard for a moment. He let sink in exactly what Chief Betts had just said to him. His fear of being found out was here, right now. Chief Betts knew, or at the very least suspected his secret. Pat shakily put both hands on the counter and said, “Well, if this were a hypothetical question, then this person who moved to town fifteen years ago was probably leaving behind a bad place and just wanted to start over with a new life. Not a life of crime, mind you, just a bad life. I don’t believe there would be any foul play in the leaving or anything medical reason either.” Pat said hoping that Chief Betts understood. Chief Betts looked at Pat for a moment and finally said, “Well, if you hear anything Pat just give me a shout. You have my number.” Chief Betts turned away and walked out the door. Pat visibly sagged against the counter and breathed a heavy sigh of relief. It felt as if a weight he had been carrying around for fifteen years had finally been lifted. A genuine smile crossed his face as he watched Chief Betts walk back to his car through the front plate glass window. For the first time in years Pat felt free. Pat continued to work into the afternoon when he received a service call. A man out at the roadside motel just on the edge of town had locked his keys in his car. Pat loaded up his tools as his afternoon helper came in to watch the store while he was on a service call. Joey was a high school kid who liked to work for Pat in the afternoons. Pat reached the hotel just after four in the afternoon. He pulled up beside a dark crown Vic that looked to be more than a mode of transportation. It almost looked like the guy lived in it too. Pat noticed something sitting in the rear window; it looked like a dark ski mask. “Kind of warm for ski masks this time of year,” Pat mumbled to himself. The guy standing next to the car looked to be a bit nervous as he shifted anxiously from foot to foot. Pat had a bad feeling about this one. Casually Pat got out of the truck and said to the guy, “Nice day,” Pat shook hands with the anxious young man who kept looking around as if he were waiting for something to jump out at him. The young man just mumbled something unintelligible. “Hey, can you unlock my car for me or not?” the guy asked in a hurried way. Pat looked at the guy and said, “Sure, just let me get the VIN number off the car, sometimes they have different locking mechanisms and I need to be sure to get the right tool.” Pat looked in the front window of the car and quickly wrote down the VIN number from the car. “Be right back,” Pat said as he walked back to his truck. He was going to have to think quickly if he was to pull this one off. His gut told him this was the guy who had robbed the bank. There was money scattered carelessly in the back seat of the car. Pat saw the guy run into his hotel room and shut the door. Pat quickly got out his cell phone and called Chief Betts on the phone, soon he saw the young man come back out of his room and eye Pat suspiciously. In a conversational tone he said, “Hey Tony, I’m sorry but I don’t think we are going to make supper tonight. Andrea just called to let me know that Amy has a temperature of one hundred and twenty four.” Pat paused a moment and then said, “Yeah, as soon as I get done with this service call I will be heading home, have a good evening Tony,” Pat said as he laid the phone down in the seat of his truck. Pat pulled out a J hook slim Jim to get the lock open on the car door. Pat walked back over to the car and slipped the tool down inside the door. Soon he felt the lock on the door and knew if he gave a sharp tug up it would be open. But he wanted to delay the guy a few more minutes so he continued to fish around for the lock. Soon though, he could see the young man edging around to get behind him. Pat quickly slipped the lock and turned to the young man and said, “There you go; now the door is open for you. That will be forty five dollars please,” The young man seemed to be surprised at how quickly Pat had turned to face him. The man fumbled in his pocket and pulled out a fifty dollar bill. He gave the money to Pat and ran back into his hotel room one more time. Pat walked quickly to his truck and got in. His truck was parked behind the car so he knew the guy wouldn’t be going anywhere for a minute. He pulled out his paperwork to make out the receipt for the young man. Soon the guy was back out from his motel room and looked up to see that Pat was still parked behind him. Pat could see him getting more and more anxious. “Hey buddy, can you move the truck, I’m sort of in a hurry,” The young man yelled at Pat. Pat rolled down the window a bit and said, “I just have to fill out this receipt for you and you can be on your way.” Pat went back to filling out the receipt. Soon he heard more cars pulling into the motel parking lot. Pat looked up to see the Chief of police in an unmarked car pulling to a stop by his truck. Pat visibly relaxed. “Chief Betts had understood,” Pat mumbled to himself. The young guy started to look really panicked as he saw the car pull up next to the lock smith pickup. He threw open the door and made to run when two more police cruisers pulled into the parking lot. Chief Betts got out of his car and told the young man to “Freeze!” The young man had decided not to run. Chief Betts stood beside Pats truck as his two deputies handcuffed and arrested the young man for armed robbery. “Thank you for your help in this Pat. You know, I don’t think you have ever called me Tony in the years I have known you.” Chief Betts said as he slapped Pat on the back. “We tracked your cell phone signal and got out here as soon as we could. Glad you were able to detain him until we arrived. You could always join the police force if you ever decided to.” Chief Betts said to Pat with a smile on his face. Pat shook his head and said, “No, I think this is about as close to police work I would ever like to come. Helping out once in a while with locks or something for you guys is one thing. But this, No, I think I will just be a locksmith.” “Well, it’s a good thing you knew some code and that guy didn’t realize that no one ever has a temperature of one hundred and twenty four!” Chief Betts said to Pat as they shook hands before parting. That night Pat went home and hugged his wife and kids. Tonight was the first night of his new life as a free man.
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