Southern Suspects – Chapter Nine
Stevens followed close behind me as I entered the station. The local press was again lurking outside, trying to hound for my attention, but I didn’t look their way. I knew this would all be over shortly, and the news that we busted Benson would be out soon.
I didn’t even bother to knock on the door of Barnstable’s office, I just barged in.
“What is it, Davies?”
“I know who did it.”
“No, the money.”
“That’s not your territory, Sam.”
“It’s so obvious, Chief. Get the footage up here and I’ll show you.”
He turned his monitor around, already watching the footage. I quickly recalled the time-stamp and fast-forwarded so he could see. He pressed play- nothing, nothing, walking, walking… Benson shoves something in his pocket. Then he just paused.
“It’s the money! Look at how big of a stack that is!”
“How do we know that’s the money?”
“We can’t be 100% sure, but isn’t that reason enough to request arrest?”
“Blake said there was no way he did it.”
“Well, Blake was wrong. That’s evidence of something- he entered with nothing, what did he take from in there? He’s the only person we know that went in there during every game.”
“How do we know it was just him?”
“Maybe it wasn’t all him, but part of it was.”
The phone rang and Barnstable answered, shooing me out.
“I’ll give them the order- you’re needed outside.”
I went up the hall, and Stevens came up alongside me.
“Is he calling?”
“In a second, I believe.”
“Oh, that’ll be fun.”
“Apparently I’m needed elsewhere.”
I walked to the front of the station, but I could see what was happening before I even reached the lobby. Blake and Sanderson were walking alongside a cop I didn’t recognize, who was escorting an older man in handcuffs to one of the back rooms. Before I could ask what was going on myself, Blake tugged at my wrist and dragged me along with them.
“What is going on?” I asked almost insistently, nervous I wouldn’t get an answer.
“We caught Ripley on a new crime. He was transferring his campaign donations into foreign accounts.”
“Okay, and? That happens all the time- this place is practically a retirement home for the rich, what did you expect?”
“Didn’t we suspect he was involved in Daniel’s case?”
“Look at him! He’s practically hobbling here- how could he chase Daniel on a beach to the football field?”
“Who says he was the murderer? He could have sent someone else! Mr. Warsaw was very suspicious-”
“And very biased! It’s his election rival- of course, it’s his first thought.”
“Maybe if you were willing to listen to your team, Daniel’s murder would be solved by now. You never even try to see our side.”
“Yeah, cause your side is usually wrong.” I started walking back up the hall to my office- this wasn’t worth my time.
“You’ve been more wrong than we have, Sam!”
I decided to skip my office and go directly where I wanted- outside, the shoreline.
Was Blake right? Was I undermining everything they had thought? Bradley told me to listen to everybody’s side, but I didn’t. Yes, they didn’t really deserve my attention for all the hell they put me through, but they may have made good points along the way.
I stared down at my feet, the tide ahead continuing its usual pattern. Behind me, I heard footsteps and I decided to walk away. I didn’t want to talk to anyone right now.
“I know you’re sending them for me, Sam.”
As I turned, I could see Jack Benson was standing there like he was straight off a boat. He did not look happy.
“Mr. Benson, it was not my sole decision. If you’re so innocent, prove it in the interrogation room.”
“You’re trying to ruin me. I did what I had to do, and you’re trying to ruin me for it.”
“You didn’t have to embezzle money from a high school football team, Jack.”
“My sailing kids were suffering! We can hardly afford the upkeep for these boats, meanwhile, the football team gets new weights at the drop of a hat. How is that fair?”
“Life isn’t fair.”
He started walking more aggressively toward me, so I tried to get away. I hoped someone inside would see- all of the offices had windows facing this way.
“You’re really leaving me with no option here, Sam.”
“Your option is going inside to turn yourself in.”
“That’s not it.” He reached into his pocket and I just bolted.
I hated running from a situation like this, but I didn’t have a gun on me, let alone my radio. I turned my head for only a split second, but it was enough to see a knife coming my way.
By then, I had made it back around to my office window, but I just kept going. He either would follow me right into the trap, or he would escape, and at least I would be left alone. I ran right by a group of officers, and Benson fell right into the trap- he was done for.
Sanderson busted out the door, along with Bradley and Stevens, and the officers held him down while Stevens handcuffed him. They began to drag him inside, informing him of his arrest, but he took no notice of their words.
“That Davies had it out for me. But if she was smart enough, she would have figured out I killed the kid too. And that his girlfriend was in on it too.”