Project Cypher, Chapter 8 Break In

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Two patrol cars pull to a screeching halt in front of 127 Penny Lane. The vehicles no longer ring with sirens, but the flashing red and blue lights are still on as the four officers exit the two patrol vehicles. Glancing at each other the officers split into two groups. One group heads towards the front door, while the other heads around back.

Weapons ready the officers at the front door nod to each other. “POLICE!” One of the officer yells at the other officer, who rams the door open. The door hinges tear and the door swings open as they rush upstairs. The two officers in the back enter silently through the back door as the officers in the front break down the front door. The officers in the kitchen automatically react raising their guns, but registering that the sound was made by their fellow officers slightly lower them.

One of the officers in the kitchen reaches for a light switch and turns on the light in the kitchen. The light flickers on as the scent of fresh blood reaches the officer’s noses. The two officers in the kitchen swiftly walk around the counter to find the corpse of the house owner, Mr. Skinner. The officers lower their gun as the senior partner reaches for the intercom on his shoulder and says, “187, the house owner has been shot and is dead.”

“Copy. Forensics and backup are on their way,” a police dispatcher responded.

The officer softly mutters, “Copy that.”

The officers lower their guns as the two officers who had entered from the front stomp back downstairs. “The assailant or assailants are no longer here. It looks like a robbery gone wrong. The safe has been emptied, but we will need to check with the wife,” The burlier officer replied as he stepped into the kitchen to see the victim.

“Aw, Chri**. The things people do to each other,” grumbled his partner from behind him.

“Amen,” the burly officer replied.

The junior officer who entered through the back-door snorts. “I’m betting it’s the wife. It’s always the wife,” The junior officer drily commented as he holstered his firearm.

His senior partner raises an eyebrow and says, “Really, Kowalski? A man was just shot in the head and in his own house. Wiseas*, have some respect for the dead.” The junior officer shrugs his shoulder in reply. His senior partner sighs and walks out of the kitchen. The junior officer is left behind to guard the corpse, while the rest move out toward the front to set up the yellow tape and preserve the scene of the crime.

An hour later, the scene is covered in police officers as a red mini-van pulls on the curb. A tan healthy chocolate haired woman climbs out the driver seat, but not before asking her two children to stay inside the van. Frowning, she walks towards one of the officers guarding the yellow tape entry. “Excuse me, officer. Is there a problem?” Linda asked.

And before the officer can respond, the head detective on the scene, Detective Marlow rushes forward. “Mrs. Skinner, we have a delicate situation,” Detective Marlow smoothly said.

Linda frowns and says, “Okay. But do you have my husband’s permission to do so? I mean it’s late and my kids are tired, I just want to get them into bed.”

The lines on Linda’s face only grow deeper. “Delicate Situation? What is that supposed to mean-?” Lina’s voice faltered as a black body bag was finally rolled out on a stretcher. “No. NO. NO!” Linda mutters as she wobbles on her feet.

Detective Marlow steadies her in his arms as Linda noisily begins to weep in his chest. “Mrs. Skinner, I am sorry for your loss, but we need you to accompany us down to the station for an official statement. Just to rule you out as a possible suspect. But before then, is there anyone you can leave your children with for the night,” Detective Marlow persuasively said.

Sniffing in a daze Linda stutters, “M-Mindy Wendel. She’s just down the street and her eldest daughter, Madison and my daughter, Jessica are best friends. While her, Maison and my, Tyler are best friends. She’ll take the kids for the night if I ask her too.”

“Okay, let’s go do that,” Detective Marlow said as Linda leans against him.

The two children are frightened in their car seats from the cops around their house and their mother crying. Linda manages a weak smile and lies to her children as her heart breaks. “Okay, sweethearts a change of plans. Tonight, the two of you get to have a sleepover at Mindy’s! Isn’t that fun?”

The two children innocently nod their heads in excitement. An officer accompanies Linda down the street to drop her children, before heading to the station. There the officer’s take Linda’s statement of her whereabouts and the standard questionnaire. Lina noisily sobs the entire time and doing the best she can to answer the detective’s questions.

Several hours later, Detective Marlow sighs as he watches the interrogation from behind the one-way glass screen window. “The wife is clean. We won’t be able to hold her much longer if she smartens up,” Detective Marlow.

His superior officer, Lieutenant Roy Jensen, frowns and replies, “It does look like a robbery, doesn’t it?”

“Yes. From the pictures shown to Mrs. Skinner, there was about 100k in cash inside the safe. A bank withdrawal from a trust fund in that amount three years ago confirms that is true. Either a friend or family member knew the amount was in there-.”

“Or it’s just bad luck,” Lieutenant Roy Jensen finished for him.

“Yes, sir, that just about covers it,” Detective Marlow said with a sigh.

Lieutenant Roy Jensen clasps Detective Marlow on the back. “Go home, Marlow and rest for the night. And as for Mrs. Skinner, cut her loose, but make sure she is kept under watch, just to be safe,” Lieutenant Roy Jensen firmly said, before squeezing Detective Marlow’s shoulder one last time, before leaving the room.

With a sigh, Detective Marlow rubs his tired eyes. He knocks on the window twice signaling to the officer inside to let Mrs. Skinner go for the night. Detective Marlow rolls his neck popping his weary body, before closing the folders on his desk and going home for the night. A home invasion was nothing to laugh at, but frankly, he was tired and overworked with two other open murder cases. And more importantly, he had his own family waiting at home with him. With that in mind, Detective Marlow purposefully closes his office and steps out of the station

Yet somehow a few minutes later a dim light can be seen from within the empty office pulling files and copying reports. The flashlight after some time goes out and nothing more is seen. In fact, when Detective Marlow returned to his office the next morning, he would find nothing amiss with his office. Except a very well written, detailed tip on the whereabouts of the instigator of the horrendous crime committed on 127 Penny Lane.

Without wasting any time, Detective Marlow brought the tip to his officers not even questioning a vital detail. Just how was that tip left in his office on his desk? The door had been locked before he left for the night and was not reopened until he arrived that very morning. Ignoring that small detail, Detective Marlow was given permission to search and seize. Swiftly a judge issued a warrant for Andante’s arrest, a small-time drug dealer in the area.

< Property of | outside of it, it is stolen.

When SWAT and Detective Marlow burst into the gang bangers house they found the corpses of Andante and his girlfriend dead from a Heroin overdose. Piles of coke and other illegal substances were on the table, where two addicts had been getting high by snorting and needles. Further investigation into the house would find several unregistered weapons and over 100 kilos of cocaine hidden beneath the porch. Satisfied, they had found the killer, Detective Marlow reported the information to his superior and unofficially to Mr. Skinner’s wife. Linda Skinner, who thankfully wept in his arms and gratefully gave her thanks for finding her husband’s killer.

The home invasion case was officially closed within days and another new case reopened, that of Neil, the boss of Andante. With drugs tying Neil to drug dealing, the DA was able to get an injunction and imprison the big-time drug dealer. Detective Marlow was on the path to great things as a promotion loomed just around the corner. Who knew that a simple home invasion would be the path leading to success?

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