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#52147
Connie Bretes
Keymaster

Hi all, here is chapter 4. Chapter 3 ended in the middle of an interogation with the two teenagers and the start of this chapter continues with it.

Chapter 4
“Why where you with Chase and not at home with your parents?”
“I was spending the night with Chase.”
“On a school night?” Jacobs asked.
“Yeah. We had homework to do together.”
“What grade are you guys in?” Trent continued to observe his body movements.
“Tenth.”
“Tell me why you were originally going to say they were kids?”
Trent sat back in the chair and crossed his arms. He found it interesting that Tony said nothing about the suspects wearing masks or wearing orange shoes.
“I don’t know. I guess I thought originally they were kids.”
So he did see kids and not adults. “How old?”
Tony shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Tony, this is serious business. These people you saw have destroyed someone’s livelihood, someone’s business. They have destroyed valuable antiques. I think you know more than you are telling. I think you know who these suspects are. It would be your responsibility to report these suspects so we can arrest them and bring them to justice. Before anyone gets hurt. Tell me what you saw.” Trent raised his voice a little higher.
“I don’t know who these people are.”
“You were going to say these were kids. Who are the kids?”
“I don’t know.”
“Tony, we have to stop these kids from damaging anymore property. You have the power to help us stop this. Tell us who these kids are.” Jacobs voice raised a little in warning.
Tony started rocking back and forth in the chair. “I want to leave. I don’t know anything and you don’t believe me.”
“Come on, Tony, what are you afraid of? Have these guys seen you? Do they know who you are and threatened you?” Trent kept pushing, hoping Tony will break down and tell them what they need. He knows something.
There was a knock at the door. Trent and Jacobs opened the door and stepped out of the room.
“What’s up?” Trent asked Corporal Abernathy.
“His parent have shown up and insists on seeing him.” He jerked his thumb toward the visiting center.
Trent poked his head back into the room. “Come on over here, Tony and go through the mug shots.” Tony got up and walked out with the detective to a table that had the mug shots on them then Trent and Jacobs walked to the visitor area and Trent walked up to the parents.
“I’m Detective Anderson, this is Detective Jacobs.”
“Are you the detectives who brought our son here?”
“Yes, we have some mug books we’d like your son to look at to see if he can point out the suspects who broke in and destroyed valuable antiques. We were trying to establish whether the suspects were teenagers or adults.”
“I’d like to see our son.”
“Sure, this way.” Trent led the parents to Tony. He left them alone with him and the officer.
“Well, let’s check with Chase and see if he’s willing to talk now.”
They went to the first interrogation room to talk with Tan and his parents. The parents were seated with him.
“Well, Tan, Tony said that there were kids breaking and entering the place. Not homeless people. Tell me, who were these kids?” Jacobs asked firmly.
“My son says these were men with masks on,” Chase’s mother interrupted.
Interesting, Tony says nothing about these suspects wearing masks. Trent puts his arms on the table in a relax pose. And, the orange shoes? What happened to that?
“Are you sure these were men wearing a mask?” Tan’s mother asked him. “Could you be mistaken?”
“No, mom. I’m not mistaken.” Tan nervously glanced at Trent, Jacobs, then to his mother. “I’m sorry detectives, my son doesn’t seem to have anything more to say and I got other children and a dinner to prepare.” They got up to leave.
“Tan, now is your chance to make this right. You know who these suspects are, tell us so we can get them off the street.”
“I’m sorry detective, we’re done here. Let’s go, Tan.”
After both sets of parents left with the two kids, Jacobs, Trent and Corporal Abernathy went into his office to discuss. “Are you both convinced that these kids saw something or know something?” Corporal Abernathy asked.
“I’m convinced of it,” Jacobs said.
“I am, too.” Trent added.
“Well, tomorrow is a new day, and maybe after sleeping on it, they will be interested in talking tomorrow morning about this.
****
Trent put his lean cuisine t.v. dinner on the tray in front of his recliner and sat down to eat. He woofed it down, then drank a whole bottle of water to wash it all down. He grabbed his laptop and typed in White Pages, to look up Katerina’s cellphone number and was surprised to find it. He punched in the numbers and the phone rang.
“Hello?”
“Hey, Katerina. It’s me, Trent.”
“Hi, Trent. How did you get my phone number?”
Trent chuckled. “I looked it up in the white pages?”
“What part of no did you not get?”
“I know you have some abandonment issues here. But I thought maybe we could talk about it as friends. I’ve always cared about you and wondered all these years how you were doing.”
“Abandonment issues? What the hell…You got a lot of nerve calling me and suggesting I’m here because you left me…”
“Katerina, I’m just making an observation. You’ve been single all these years and…”
“So are you saying that our breaking up was a mistake and we should get back together and rekindle our relationship?”
“No. It wasn’t a mistake. We needed to see other people, and rekindling our relationship, well, that depends on how you feel about it. I’d say we just take it slow and see where it leads.”
“Bullcrap. I’m going to hang up now, and I suggest you lose my phone number. See you around, Trent.” Katerina disconnected the call.
Well heck, that didn’t go as planned. Why did he think he could pick up where he left off with her? She clearly does not want anything to do with him. He was beginning to think that Ryan was all wrong about her and her wanting to get back with him.
****
A week later, the alarm rang on his phone and jerked him awake. He looked at the digital clock on the table and the bright glowing red light registered at six AM. He hopped out of bed and went down the stairs outside his room, to the kitchen. Turning the coffee pot on, he stretched and yawned, then turned and ran back upstairs to take a shower. While waiting for the shower to warm up, he slathered some shaving cream on his face and shaved to erase the overnight shadow.
Two hours later he walked into the station. “Good morning, Trent.”
“Good morning, Lacey.” Trent flash a smile to the desk sergeant. Before I leave today, I want to ask her out. He went back to his desk, put his suitcase down and turned on the computer. “Good morning, Trent.” Jacobs said walking in from the break room with a fresh cup of coffee in his hand.
“Good morning. Anything new going on?”
“Had another break-in this morning. This time though, the officers managed to get a look at the two suspects and they were definitely teenagers. The two officers who saw them will be in shortly to give us a description.”
“Did they do the same destructive damage?”
“Yeah, it happened in a party store, and they pulled items off the shelves, ripped open the cash register.”
“Still equally dangerous.”
“It looked like one of them had a gun.”
Trent reached back behind his head and rubbed his neck.
“Really.” It sounds like the perps are upping their game plan.
A few minutes later, two patrolmen walked into the investigations unit and walked over to Trent.
“Detective, I’m patrolman Don Sheppard, and this is my partner, patrolman Kyle Nicholson. You wanted to see us?”
“Yes, let’s go into the conference room where we can talk in private.” Jacobs and Trent lead the two patrolmen to the conference room. Everyone was seated.
“I’m Detective Anderson and this is Detective Jacobs. I understand that you may be able to give us some information about the suspects we’re looking for in the case of the frequent burglaries we’ve been having. “
“What information are you looking for?”
“We understood you got a good enough look at one of them to tell us that these are teenagers doing this.”
“We didn’t see their faces and only saw them as they were leaving out the back door of the party store. But they were built like teens probably 15 or 16 years old. They had on dirty, torn hoodies and old pair of jeans.”
“So they didn’t look like homeless people, just kids.” Jacobs scratch the side of his face.
“We weren’t able to get any useable prints either because they wore gloves,” Patrolman Sheppard nodded and said.
“Anything else you saw that you could share with us?” Trent asked.
“Yeah, one of the suspects appeared to be limping. Both appeared to be dark skin but not African American. More Hispanic or Native American and they spoke a foreign language. They didn’t say one word in English and I’m not sure it was Hispanic either because I know a little Hispanic and I did not recognize anything they spoke.”
“Okay. Did they have a mask on?” Trent asked.
“Not that we saw.”
“You’re saying they spoke but you didn’t know what they said?” Jacobs asked.
“They weren’t speaking as in a conversation like you and I are having. They were yelling at each other in a foreign language.”
“Was there anything about them that stood out to you?” Trent leaned back in the chair.
“Yeah, like he said, they had very shabby, old clothes on, but what really stood out was the bright orange gym shoes the one suspect had on.”
Trent and Jacobs looked at each other. “Okay, thanks guys, for coming in and talking to us,” Trent said.
“Sure, hope we were helpful.”
“You were very helpful. Be safe out there.” Trent shook hands with the two patrolmen and then Jacobs stood and shook hands with them.
After they walked out, Trent turned and faced Jacobs. “I had doubts about the orange shoes when the boys mentioned them, thinking the kids knew more than they were letting on and adding things to throw us off. Now I am certain with the mentioned of the orange shoes by the cops, and their descriptions, I think we’re looking for two teenage boys of either Hispanic or Native American decent.”
“Yes, it’s pretty hard to dismiss the orange shoes. I think we need to go talk to these two kids, Tan and Tony, again.”
“I agree.”
“Okay, let’s go.”
The detectives pulled into a parking spot in front of the hardware store and exited the vehicle.
Both Tan and Tony were standing with an adult male by the cash register when Trent and Jacobs opened the door an entered the store.
“Hello, Tony, Tan. I’m glad to see you both here. I have a couple more questions to ask you.” Trent eyed both boys for any telltale signs that something was amiss or if they were going to run.
“I don’t know what more I can tell you.” Tony remarked.
“Tell me again, what did these men have on.”
“One had a dark green hoodie and old jeans on.” Tony answered, wiping his face.
“What were they wearing on their feet?” Trent asked.
“The one with the dark green hoodie had on orange shoes. I don’t know what the other one had on. Do you remember, Tony?” Tan asked.
“No. I didn’t see their feet.” Tony shook his head.
“What were their skin color?” Jacobs asked.
“Tony and Tan looked at each other.
“The one with the orange shoes looked Hispanic or Asian. I didn’t see their faces,” Tan answered.
“Why do you think they were Hispanic or Asian?” Trent gaze traveled down the front of Tan and then back to his eyes.
“He snapped off a latex glove and his skin was brown.”
“Okay. Are you still convinced they are men and not young adults or children?” Trent cocked his head slightly, staring at the two boys.
“They could be young adults,” Tony answered.
“What age?” Now it seemed they were getting somewhere. Trent’s brows knitted.
“18 or 19.”
“Tony, did you see anything covering their faces?” Jacobs asked next.
“They had a white mask on, and their hoodies came over their head and covered their eyes.”
“Detectives, you’re back asking more questions?”
“Yes, Mrs. Chase. We had another break-in down the street and had some additional descriptions we wanted to compare with what Tan and Tony saw.”
“I see. You boys answered their questions truthfully?”
“Yes, mom.”
“Yes, Mrs. Chase.”
“Good. Anything else you’d like to ask?”
“Why didn’t anyone call the police when this robbery next door was happening?”
“I didn’t call because I didn’t know anything about it until I learned you took the boys to the station to look at mug shots,” Mrs. Chase answered.
“I didn’t think it was any of my business,” Tan said.
Tony refused to answer.
“I think we got all the information we can use for now. Thank you all for your time.” Trent’s lips turned up slightly at the corners.
“Any time officers. We’re glad to help,” Mrs. Chase said.
“You’ve been setting your alarms at night when you close the store?” Jacobs asked.
“Yes, we have. Thanks for the warning from you two, we’ve added two surveillance cameras to the front and back doors.”
“Good. Stay safe.” Jacobs showed one of his rare smiles.
Jacobs and Trent got in to the unmarked police cruiser. “I guess their statements are a little more credible now,” Jacobs remarked.
“Yes, they seemed more confident as well.”
“I still think they know more than they are letting on.” Jacobs smirked.
“I think they know who the suspects are.” Trent glanced over at Jacobs.
“I like how our minds think alike.” Jacobs smirked.
“If there was a pattern to how they chose which business to target, we could set up a sting and be ready for them.”
“Have you studied their patterns?”
“Not in detail, no,” Trent answered.
“Let’s go back and study it. See if we can come up with something.”
****
Katerina finally arrived at Pops family restaurant to have dinner with her childhood friend, Lucy. After ordering their drinks and meals, Lucy went on a tirade about her day. She was obviously upset and tired at the certain people in her life that made it difficult today. She then railed about how alone she was and unable to find someone to love and go home to. She had another wedding to go to where she was another bridesmaid.
“Honestly, Kate, I have seven bridesmaid dresses in my closet. Plus this one this Saturday, it’s getting embarrassing.” Finally, Lucy quieted down.
The waitress brought their food to the table.
“You have been quiet tonight. What’s going on?” Lucy asked.
“Remember who I was dating all through high school?”
“Yeah, Trent Anderson, why?” Lucy raised her eyebrows.
“I ran into him last week.”
“Okay, you should have kind of expected that, don’t you think? He’s never left town.”
“I guess you’re right. I guess didn’t expect it to hit me the way it did.”
“Why, how did it hit you?”
“All those feelings and emotions I felt when we were going together. Even though he broke up because he wanted to be free to date other women, it still hurt, and I still had a broken heart. When I saw him, I wanted to hug and kiss him, wanted to hold his hand and pick up where we left off until he opened his mouth. Do you know anything about him? Who he’s dating or seeing now? When did he become such a cocky smart-aleck?”
“Kate, Trent plays the field. Every time I see him, he’s with a different girl.”
Katerina let out a sigh. “Does he date anyone more than once?”
“I don’t think he sees any one more than once. But, who knows, maybe he’s playing the field until you come back to him.” Lucy stabbed her knife into her salad. “I don’t know why the personality change. I noticed that a couple of years ago. He even tried to date me once, if you can believe that.”
“Why do you say that?” Katerina moved her food around her plate with her fork.
“Come on, Kate. You know men don’t look at me. I’m just a nurse who cleans bedpans and take their temperatures.”
“You are much more than that. Quit talking about yourself negatively.”
“Okay, this sounds far-fetched, but why don’t you invite Trent over for dinner or a date and see what happens?”
“No.”
“Why?”
“I’m not interested in getting my heart pulled apart again. He did ask me for my phone number and I refused to give it to him, and what did he do? Look my number up in the white pages, and of course, he called me last night.”
“Well, he’s persistent and obviously interested. What did you guys talk about?” Lucy asked.
“He had the gull to say I had abandonment issues. Can you believe that? I asked if he was trying to convince me that our breaking up was a mistake and we should get back together and rekindle our relationship. He said no. It wasn’t a mistake. We needed to see other people, and he said rekindling our relationship depends on how I feel about it. He said he’d like to take it slow and see where it leads.”
“What did you say to that?”
“I said I was going to hang up now, and I did.”
****
After dinner with Lucy, Katerina entered her apartment and flipped on the light. She shut and locked the door, then dropped her purse and keys on the table next to the door. She headed to the bathroom and turned the water on in the tub, then strip down to soak in the hot water. Once she sunk into the tub, she turned the jets on to massage her sore feet. Laying back into the tub, she closed her eyes and let the vibrations soothe her tired body.
She heard something ringing in the other room. The water was cooler, so she surmised she nodded off when she heard her cell phone ringing again. She pulled the plug to let the water drain, and climbed out of the tub and grabbed a towel. After drying off, she slipped on her nightgown and robe, then went to get her iPhone. Checking the screen, she noticed the number wasn’t any number she recognized. She sat down and curled her legs under her, pulled the throw blanket down over her body and turned on her television. She was flipping through the channels when her iPhone rang again. It was the same number as earlier. She ran her finger across the screen.
“Hello.”
“Hey, Katerina, this is Trent.”
“What do you want?”
“Am I interrupting anything?” His voice seemed subdued.
“Yes, my evening.” She flipped the television off. Got up and went into her bedroom. She sat on the bed with her back against the head board.
“How was your day today?” Trent asked.
“It was good. What do you want?”
“I just wanted to apologize for last night, I didn’t mean to bring up a sensitive subject.”
“First of all, I do not have abandonment issues. Secondly, it’s not a ‘sensitive’ subject. Got that?”
“I heard you are a nurse supervisor.” Trent changed the subject.
“Yes, I supervise the day shift emergency room nurses as well as I step in and help with nursing care if we get really busy and need an extra hand.”
“You have a lot of responsibilities,” Trent commented.
“Meaning?”
“You must be under a lot of stress.”
“Let’s talk about you. How long have you been with the Jackson police department?”
“Since I graduated. After I was there for a year, they promoted me to detective. Ryan is my sidekick, and the two of us solved a string of robberies within a week, so we were promoted to detectives. I have the highest solve rate in the department.”
“Wow, high and mighty lord, what about Ryan?”
“Like I said, Ryan is my sidekick. Ryan says you’ve been at a few places before coming to St. John’s Medical Center.”
“Yes, I have.”
“Where did you go?”
“I was in Africa working with Doctors Without Borders, then I came home and worked at a burn center for a while before coming back here.”
“Was the burn center hard to work at?”
“Have you ever seen anyone with third degree burns? Yes, it was hard to work there. Chad called me and told me that mom and dad was struggling to get around and needed nursing care, so I took that opportunity to leave the burn center and come back here to work in emergency services.”
“I was a cop in my first six months of employment when I was sent to a scene of a horrific accident where one of the victims was burned beyond recognition while the other person was wrapped around a steering wheel and a third victim had body parts all over the road. It was pretty horrifying and I almost didn’t stomach it. What was the worst you’ve had to deal with?”
“The burn center. Seeing people struggle, the agony the patients went through, the horrors of having to learn to live with disfigurement, I always thought it would be hard for me to care for children, but I can deal with children better than severely burned victims.”
“I imagine the emergency room brings more than its share of tragedies.”
“Yeah, it can get pretty dramatic from time to time.”
“Have you been involved with anyone?”
“Why do you want to know that?”
“Just trying to find out what’s been happening in your life, that’s all, Katerina. Not trying to start anything.” Trent reassured.
“I’ve had a few relationships, but nothing ever came of it beyond just dating.” Katerina was thoughtful for a few seconds before she commented. “I heard a rumor that you date a different two-legged dear every night.”
“Oh, it’s not a rumor, I do date a lot.”
“No hot date tonight?” Katerina asked.
“Naw, haven’t been out in a while.”
“Ah, I see.” Katerina didn’t like where the conversation was headed.
“I would like to take you out for dinner one night if you’d like.”
“Wait, you want to add me to your list of conquests?”
“No. I just want to visit with an old friend. We go back a ways and we always had a good time.”
“Yes, we did.” She swallowed a lump in her throat. She heard some sort of warning bells going off in the back of her head but she ignored it.
“So, would you be interested in going out for dinner with me tomorrow night?”
“I don’t know, Trent. I really don’t want to get involved and hurt again. You really broke my heart the last time.”
“Like I said last night, just take it slow and easy and see where it leads.”
“Can we go out just as friends?” She asked.
“Yes.”
“Okay, I’d like that. But how about first, you knock off that arrogant crap, and secondly, we meet at a nice restaurant and go Dutch?”
“Why?”
“Why what?”
“What do you want to meet instead of my picking you up?”
“I live way over on the east side and friends pay for their own meals.”
“We can do that if you want. Want to go to the Italiano restaurant?”
“That sounds great. I haven’t had Italian in a while. Didn’t the one down on Third street and Manhattan used to be Marcelo’s?” She smiled.
“Yes, it was. I finish work usually at 5, but if I think I’m going to run late I’ll call you.”
“Okay, same with me.”
“It was really great talking to you Katerina, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow evening.”
After saying their good nights and disconnected, Katerina placed her phone on her charger then sat back, replaying their conversation. The last time she could remember talking to a man about work and what not had to be the last time she talked to Trent almost ten years ago. He was always so easy to talk to. It felt great just having a conversation with him when he wasn’t full of himself. I wonder why he’s so cocky and arrogant? Too bad he has sworn off long term relationships or marriage and broke her heart. Could she convince him to give them another chance?
Why did she want another chance? She shook her head as she thought she was a glutton for punishment.
****
Trent and Jacobs took their preliminary findings to Corporal Abernathy. They found what they thought was the holy grail in their case. If they were right, they knew the next target would be the thrift store on the next block over from the antique store.
“Okay, how do you intend to catch them?” Corporal Abernathy asked.
“We think we should do a sting. Wait well hidden in the store and when they break in, have the police surround them and Anderson and I arrest them.” Jacobs rubbed his chin.
Corporal Abernathy sat back in his chair and perched his lips. “I’d have to authorize a lot of overtime for this.” After a few seconds passed, he decided. “Okay, let’s do this. I’ll put out the call for patrolmen who want to work overtime. When do we do the actual sting?”
“Thursday night,” Trent said.
“You’re sure they will be ready to hit Thursday night?”
“The pattern indicates this would be when they would strike.”
“Okay, we’ll reconvene with the back up after lunch.”
Trent stood in the coffee room looking out the window into the parking lot. His mind drifted back to what transpired all those years ago that led to him breaking up with Katerina. He didn’t want to break up with her, but he was forced to by her father. Charles Morgan was the county judge and he threatened to have Trent arrested on trumped up charges which would ruin any chance of his being a police officer. Charles never liked Trent and made his dislike clear, although Katerina never suspected a thing. The weekend he ended it with her, was one of the worst days of his life and he walked away leaving her in tears. After that weekend, he closed off his heart and never allowed himself to get emotionally entangled again. For some reason, Mr. Morgan’s opinion and attitude toward him made him feel that he wasn’t worthy or good enough for anyone. He finally admitted to himself that Ryan was right. He had allowed the judge’s opinion to sway his mind and made him question his ability to support a wife and family.
Owning a house, and a new vehicle took a good chunk of his salary of 63,000.00 a year, what made him think he could even begin to support a wife and any children? In fact, he’d be willing to bet that Katerina makes more money an hour than he does. The only way he could think that Ryan could do it was that Claire owned a business she ran from home.
That afternoon, Corporal Abernathy, Trent and Jacobs met with a group of patrol officers and went over the plan to surround the building and how they would capture the two suspects.
Just before he was ready to leave for the night, Jacobs called him back with some questions.

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