Chapter 39 || Last Chance To France.
Inevitably enough, we had to get stuck in traffic. Almost ten miles were separating us from LAX and we had only fifteen minutes until the paintings took off to France and disappear forever. David had already informed the Federal Police but because Selouti intended to travel with a private jet, it’s a bit more difficult to stop the process.
“Are you sure this is enough to actually get him into jail, Dad ?“, Alex asked as his father changed the lane in order to escape a major congestion.
“As I said, what Jessica said would be enough to at least consider him a prime suspect.”
“What do you mean by ‘would’ ?“, Jana stuck her head out from the back seat.
“The devil is in the details. Selouti’s destination in France is the Airport St. Tropez/La Môle.”
“Oh.“, Jana formed her mouth to an O-shape. “I understand.”
“The please explain it to me because I don’t know what that means.“, I looked at her expectantly.
“The Airport St.Tropez/La Môle is a small airport mostly used for private flights by the high society. What Mr.Valente actually means is probably the fact that the airport is infamous for international art smuggling, mostly because St.Tropez is the main residence of the notorious art dealer Jules Rousseau-Bernard who is rumored to be a big fish in the international illegal art trade.”
I was impressed by Jana’s knowledge about illegal art trade. “How do you know that ? Is there something you want to tell me?“, I teased her.
“My aunt’s husband is French and works in the art industry. He told me that there was no evidence but it is an open secret.“, Jana proceeded her explanation.
“Jana is right. It’s enough to charge him. Plus, we are still searching for the attacker and we have Malia who probably will tell us everything we want to know when she wakes up. I assume that this was the reason why she was attacked in the first place.“, David made a turn right, approaching the LAX.
“You mean he tried to kill her because she wanted to leave the business ?”
“Yeah.“, he agreed. “It’s conceivable. Maybe she wanted to quit because of her husband and her new life. When we interrogated her, she didn’t have much money and her boyfriend was pretty abusive and also a drug addict. I didn’t think that she would be able to change her life like that.”
Finally having arrived at the airport, we try to not lose one second and ran across the hall, including Gracie, who outpaced all of us, although she had no clue where we heading to. I watched the airfield through the gigantic glass panels, when I recognized the little jet with the imprint “Selouti” which propellers seemed to stop spinning gradually.
“Guys.“, I yelled across the crowded hall. “We can slow down a little. They stopped the machine.”
All of them gave me a puzzled look but were relieved at the same time. “Did you see the plane ?”
“Yeah.“, I waved them over to me and pointed at the center of the airfield.
After we had left a few stairs and hallways behind us, the rays of the setting sun lit up our faces. The noises of the turbines were too loud to understand one’s own thoughts. We went past the staff when suddenly a man blocked our way. He was wearing an orange helmet and vest.“Sir, I’m sorry but I must ask you to leave. For authorized staff only.”
David did not hesitate one second and showed the man his badge. “We have a case of a suspected smuggle. Saying that I have to ask you to leave, Sir, or I will have to arrest you because of obstruction of justice.“, his serious tone seemed make an impression on the man. “What about the kids ?”
“They’re consultants and have made major contributions to the case. May I ?“, he hissed at him, making his rhetorical question sounding even more harsh. The man made a grim face, but took a step aside and let us pass.
The jet became more and more visible and when we had almost reached it, I could see Elyas Selouti standing on the aircraft steps and gesturing frantically.
“What is that supposed to mean ?!“, he yelled from the middle of the stairs at the police men. “I have an appointment to attend and I will sue the hell out of you if you won’t let me leave within in the next ten seconds.”
“Mr. Selouti ? You are under arrest for attempted murder, receiving of stolen goods for gain, smuggle and instigation of a murder. You have the right to remain silent. Everything that you say can and will be held against you.“, he ordered one of the police men, who stood next to a police car, to go upstairs and handcuff him. The other one entered the plane to look for the stolen paintings.
“This is ridiculous. I will personally make sure that you will be suspended and won’t to be able to find a job, ever again.“, he screamed at Alex father as the police officer escorted him down the stairs.
“Detective !“, the police officer that went into the plane stood at the top of the stairs, holding something that is covered in crepe paper. “I think I found the paintings.”
David accusingly raised his eyebrows at Selouti, but he pretended as if he was as innocent as a little child. “I don’t know where these come from. Those are not mine.”
“Of course you don’t. Maybe you’ll be able to convince the judge with your pathetic attempt of a lie.“, he nodded in the direction of the police cars, signaling the officer to accompany him to one of the cars.
All of a sudden, David took his phone out of his pocket and waited for the other person to pickup. “Who are you calling ?”
“The police station. I want to tell them that we have Selouti and that Kyle’s father is free to go.”
I exhaled when I heard these words coming out of David’s mouth. A sudden relief overtook my body and I couldn’t believe that we finally made. After such a long time, we proved the innocence of Kyle’s father and eventually caught Elyas Selouti, only because of the Ninja Turtles.
Who thought that watching TV would someday spare someone a long time in prison...