Detective Manor was pleased with the steady progress in the Greg case. He was on his way to the clinic to learn whether Linda Farrow or Jessica and Frank Ferguson could identify the man in the sketch.
Rolling into the clinic parking lot, he spotted the Ferguson vehicle and entered the clinic prepared to do battle if necessary. She was the only other person in the waiting room and he watched her cuddle and coo over the smallest dog he’d ever seen. She appeared calmer but the second she noticed him, cast uneasy glances his way as though suspecting he might have been called as a result of her previous actions. Taking a seat, he watched surreptitiously until she settled the bill and left.
He ambled to the counter where a tall blue-eyed woman with whisky brown hair stood, and introduced himself. The second he did, Linda Farrow’s eyes filled with tears and she remarked, “I can’t believe it, I simply can’t. I don’t understand how anyone could do such a thing to such a sweet man.”
Gently he mentioned the sketch he’d left the previous day and asked whether she could identify him.
“Oh, yes, of course. That’s Bernard Grove. Pitbull. Mid-July of 2020. A miserable man, difficult to deal with. Hates women.”
“Do you have his contact information handy?”
“Yes, here it is.” She handed him a piece of paper with his name address and phone number neatly written in an interesting shade of green ink. “I’m not sure it’s current since he hasn’t been in recently, but I’m sure you have your own sources for that.” She sniffed, dabbing at her eyes in an attempt to stem the flowing tears she’d previously managed to hold at bay.
“Did Miss Montgomery mention some missing meds from the surgery room to you?”
“She did. I took a look and if something is missing, it wasn’t ordered through us. Everything in the cupboard is accounted for.”
“Miss Montgomery was right.” Looking directly into her eyes he continued, “You are a godsend. Thank you.” He smiled warmly.
She seemed surprised at the praise and said, “I’m only doing my job.”
“Which you do admirably well. You saved me a great deal of time effort and footwork.”
“Anything I can do!” she said with a watery smile.
The second he was in his car, he called and verified the information on Grove and upon confirmation, headed directly to the address on Swanson Street little more than a dirt road. The guy was ornery, a loner, a thief and possibly a murder. Any way you sliced it, whether involved in the Greg murder or not, he had plenty of reason to resist arrest. Detective Manor was determined he wasn’t going to have a chance to escape and called for backup.
He was a miserable piece of work and the instant Detective Manor identified himself, he heard what sounded like a mad scramble from inside. He’d attempted an escape through a back door and tripped and landed at the feet of two officers stationed there. He cursed and fought all the way to the car.
Surprisingly he hadn’t called for a lawyer which gave Manor time to hammer away at him and he finally admitted to the theft but said Greg was already dead when he got there. He’d simply grabbed what he could get a hold of and ran. When he finally thought about it, he asked for a lawyer and Manor walked out. Fortunately for Manor, he had the guy cold on the theft charges and would press hard on a murder conviction.
It wasn’t long after he conferred with a lawyer that Manor was informed the perp wanted to talk.
“Mr. Grove has information to trade and is looking for a deal on the theft charges.”
“That all depends on what he has to offer.”
The lawyer nodded at his client who leaning forward said, “Like I said, I didn’t kill no one. It wasn’t until later I put two and two together and figured the guy I saw racing away might a been involved. “
At Manor’s nod, he continued, “I saw an old green Ford parked about a block from the clinic. The guy in it was acting all suspicious like when I drove by.”
“Define suspicious,” Manor pressed for details.
“Hunkered down like he didn’t want to be seen like he was trying for invisible ya know? It made him more noticeable if you get my drift. Stupid jerk!”
“What about the car, anything unusual about it?”
“Just that it had a rusted-out quarter panel that looked like it was ready to fall off.”
“What about the guy inside the car?”
“Far as I could tell, he was probably in his mid thirty’s, kinda thin, lots of scruffy hair, kids wore, all spikey and shit.”
“Why did you go into the clinic?” Manor asked.
“Cause it seemed strange. Place was lit like a Christmas tree but there weren’t any cars around. I kind of thought it was weird. I decided to check it out. Then when I saw Dr. Greg layin’ there, I hightailed it.”
“But you took enough time to steal from a dead man and didn’t bother to call it in.”
“OK, not my finest hour. I figured with my wrap sheet, you’d ah, conclude i did it, which I didn’t!” After a short pause he asked, “So do we have a deal?”
“I’ll talk with the D.A. ” Manor promised.