Fly Diamonds

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Chapter 11

Brent stood in Elliot’s office, wearing disposable booties and blue latex gloves, and looking for anything that might give him a clue as to the thief’s state of mind. As he looked around the desk, he detected the behind of a beautiful woman crouched on all fours under the desk. Just the one he was looking for.

Yonit was an Israeli woman with a decade of forensic experience. Brent liked her not only for her experience, but also for her good looks. He preferred Yonit over all the other forensic personnel, because she was fast, direct, and had no political correctness, which cracked him up.

“Yonit. This is a welcome surprise,” Brent said, gazing at her behind.

“Stop staring at my ass, Brent.” Yonit retorted. “And don’t come around, you are contaminating the scene.”

“What happened to ‘Hello, Brent’?”

“Give me a second. I thought I had something here, but it is nothing. You know these office cleaning crews are not very thorough; down here, it seems as if it has never been vacuumed. Yuck!” Yonit exclaimed in her endearing accent as she crawled out and shook her head in a friendly gesture toward Brent. She wore a white jumpsuit and the same booties and gloves as he had on.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

“Anything?” Brent asked.

“Perhaps. First, there are no strange residues or footprints of any kind. We have feathers, many pigeon feathers, Columba livia domestica to be precise, but other than the species, there is nothing else they can tell us.” Yonit pointed to the pigeon in the cage.

“Hmm.”

“From what I can tell, the perp didn’t touch anything with his hands. He was super smart. Not your average thief. No fingerprints anywhere.”

“But we are going to catch him. We have him on tape.”

“I did find something that might be an important clue. But you are not going to like

this.”

“What is it?”

“A hair.”

“From the thief’s head? How do you know it is from his head?”

“It was on top of these papers here, you see.”

“So?”

“Well, these are the wrappers of the diamonds that he stole, and the hair was on top of them, so it stands to reason that it fell after or during the robbery.”

“You have the one hair? That is good.”

“Yes, the one. Not good.”
“What? It’s blond, right?”

“Yes, blond. But get this, it was a dead person’s blond hair, no root, and where the root should have been there were traces of rubbery glue, particularly cyanoacrylate adhesive, so it’s the human hair of a wig.”

“So my video is of a disguised man. Damn it! Fuck!”

Brent was not happy; he immediately took out his phone and called it in.

“Paloma, it’s me. Call off the search for a blond man. He was wearing a wig, so remove ‘blond’ from the description, but keep it a white male, six feet, heavyset, and do it now.”

During this, Yonit kept working. She heard the conversation and felt bad for what she was about to say. Smeared white cream was apparent on the white diamond wrapping paper she examined on her portable microscope.

“You are not going to like this,” Yonit said.

“Now what?” Brent asked, hanging the phone.

“There appears to be some kind of makeup material on the paper. The perp probably touched his face with the latex gloves at some point, who knows, then he smeared it on these papers. It is in most of them, so definitely it was on him before.”

“Can we get DNA from it.”

“Very unlikely. It is a makeup cream, not a substance that will scratch cells off the skin. I will look for some.” Yonit looked at him and noticed he finally got what she was saying.

“So he is not white.”

“Exactly. Probably not heavyset either.”

“So what we have is a six-foot-tall man.”

“He’s a smart one.”

“I’ll catch him.”

Sure, Yonit thought, but kept quiet. This was looking like a perfect crime.

“Cliff, where are we on the GPS?” Brent left the message on Cliff’s phone as he looked at the bird. The pigeon looked at him and then turned its head.

He glanced around, and saw some of his police men standing by. One stood nearby the door of the office where Brent and Yonit were.

“Hey, get me the animal handler,” Brent commanded.

“Yes, sir.” The officer left.

Brent took the leather contraption out of his pocket and handed it to Yonit. She looked at it for the first time.

“Anything on this?” Brent showed it to Yonit.

She looked at it in detail. Examined the clasp device, the string used to make it, and the leather. Meanwhile Brent sat on the sofa, looking at her. There were feathers everywhere and he avoided some pigeon feces that sat squarely on the other side of the sofa.

“Well?” Brent pushed.

“Nothing,” Yonit said flatly.

“Nothing? Really?”

“It is suede, quite common, the string is cotton, also quite common, and the clasps are manufactured by the millions and sold in any sewing store, generic really. So it is a handmade harness for a pigeon. Nothing in it can lead to a particular person.”

“OK, hand it back. I need it.”

Yonit threw it to him and he moved to catch it but winced at the feces all around him. She continued working on the microscope and the room. Then a small, thin woman arrived, probably about twenty-seven years of age, and perky, reminding Brent of the people who work at SeaWorld.

“Hi. I am the bird handler,” she said.

“Please have this leather harness that you removed put back on the bird. Without letting it escape, of course,” Brent commanded.

Brent handed the harness to her. She immediately began the procedure by closing the door. Brent looked on as the two women did their jobs. He dialed again. “Cliff?”

“Yes, sir?” Cliff answered.

“Why didn’t you answer before?”

“I didn’t get a call; did you call? What is it?”

“I need an update on the GPS.”

“IT is going to bring it to the scene. I am looking at the footage from the office building, but I will call and get an ETA? OK?”

“Do that, and, Cliff? Anything on the video over there?”

“Yes, the perp walked across the parking lot, but did not get in any car—he just walked off down the sidewalk and into Mission Center Court. Didn’t even run. In the footage we can see some of the birds in the distance, but they went in the opposite direction. One bird sort of strayed into the parking lot, but then it turned to go meet the others.”

“Is there a camera beyond that point?”

“That is where we are heading now—in Mission Center Court.”

“OK, good work. Get copies of all the footage sent to HQ. Keep after him, tracking him building by building. We need to see his car or something that can identify him!”

Yonit was packing up; he watched as she placed the microscope back in its case. The bird handler was finished, as well.

“That will be all, thank you,” Brent told the handler.

“Thanks; this is so exciting,” she said.

“Oh, Miss, please do not tell anyone what is going on here. You need to keep quiet.” Brent pressed his finger to his lips. “The news cannot alert the perp that we have his bird. Capisce?”

“Sure. I won’t discuss this. How long, though?” she asked.

“Until I tell you. You cannot share any information with anyone. Not a thing.”

“OK.”

She left.

“She will Instagram the entire crime scene before the day is over,” Yonit said as soon as the handler was far enough away. Brent laughed.

“I just hate this Internet society we live in. It is impossible to keep anything from the media. Anything,” Brent said without knowing that, thanks to Cliff, by nightfall the news would have the birds on camera leaving the scene, accompanied by the headline “Flying Diamonds!”

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