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Posted by on Nov 23, 2009 in WhoDunIt |

A Real False Alarm

A Real False Alarm

Car_Break“The car alarm often goes off in hot, humid weather,” Elliot Zypher told the inspector from the burglary division. “When it went off last night, I had no idea the car was actually being robbed. This has always been such a safe area.”

The detective looked around at the large houses and well-tended lawns and had to agree. “Do you usually leave expensive necklaces out in the car?” “That was my fault, inspector,” answered Elliot’s sister, Zelda.

“I had just brought the necklace back from the jeweler. We were halfway through dinner when I remembered where it was. Neither Elliot nor I had the energy to go get it.

I went right from dinner up to my room. With the windows closed and the air conditioning on, I could barely hear the horn start blaring. I assumed it was the usual false alarm.”

Elliot had been downstairs when the car began its wailing. He felt just unsure enough about the necklace to go out and check. “The front passenger window had been smashed in with a rock,” he said.

“I checked under the passenger seat. That’s where I remembered Zelda placing the necklace case. But it was gone.” The only other person in the house that night had been Martha, the maid. She confirmed as much as she could of their stories, then added her own.

“As I was clearing the dinner table, I thought I saw something moving out in the garden. Usually when that happens it’s just my imagination. But I remembered what Ms. Zelda said about the necklace. I went out in the garden to look around.

I was still there when the alarm went off. A few seconds later, I saw Mr. Elliott exit the patio doors to go check up on it.” The police dusted for prints and came up with nothing. The passenger door and seat had both been wiped clean.

“I guess we’re dealing with a professional,” a rookie cop suggested. “We’re dealing with an inside job,” his boss answered. “And I know who.” Whodunit? And how did he know?


Answer: Two facts pointed the inspector in the right direction: (a) Martha didn’t hear the smashing of the car window. (b) Elliot said he looked under the front passenger seat for the necklace case, yet his prints were not there, not even on a door handle. When the alarm went off by accident that night, Elliot seized the opportunity, smashing the window and stealing his sister’s necklace. The alarm covered up the sound of breaking glass. But Elliot’s big mistake lay in wiping away his prints. Sometimes fingerprints can prove you innocent.