Chapter 13

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Barlow finished studying the newspaper archives, and as far as he could determine, the theft at the convention center taking place during the Summer National Sports and Outdoor Show had never been solved. From the sketchy information found in the news articles, someone had entered the vault during the busiest day of the summer show, one of the largest, most well-attended in the country, and made off with a lot of cash.

The gate and parking money were held in the vault with the cash scheduled to be picked up by an armored car service early the next morning. The quantity of money stolen wasn't disclosed, although one unnamed source speculated the amount to be well into six figures.

Barlow calculated the robbery occurred about four hours before the incident with the submerged car. The amount of cash would've been consistent with what he had seen in the trunk, and Harrisburg was located across the river only about an hour away.

Had the driver, Neil Mantener, been the perpetrator? If so, it still didn't answer what had happened to the money and who had drowned the man and moved him back into the car.

Why didn't the police make the connection between Mantener and the robbery? Then again, with no cash at the scene of the accident, why should they? They would see the accident as a random event caused by a university student driving too fast on an unknown road.

Barlow digested the information and decided he would call Pet and let her know what happened. She had access to information that might not be readily available to the general public.

Would Pet think he had an ulterior motive for calling? Did he? He pulled his phone and the business card she had given him the night before. Would she think this to be a cheesy excuse, something he invented to talk to her again. He reminded himself that she was married.

He reconsidered. "It's not as if I'm asking her out. This really is a matter for the police." He punched in her number.

She picked up on the second ring. "Trooper Petronia Henning speaking."

"Pet, um, this is Barlow."

"So, you decided to call? I gotta say I'm surprised, but Barlow, I'm on duty right now. Can I call you back in a few minutes?" She sounded genuinely happy to hear from him.

"I just want to ask if we can meet later after you get off."

"You sound tense. Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. Instead of calling me back we should meet. What I have to tell you is complicated."

She giggled. "My life is full of complications. I don't want any more."

"I need your help as a law enforcement officer. Official business."

With an amused tone, she said, "If you got a speeding ticket, I can't do anything about it."

"Pet, listen to me. It has to do with the night we broke up and about that freak accident."

"You mean when that guy drove his car into the river and drowned?"

"Yeah. I found out something about the accident today that I hadn't known before."

"Hmm. You've piqued my curiosity. When and where do you want to meet?"

"The Dancing Bear at seven. Does that work for you?"

"Why there? I assumed you were staying at your dad's old house?"

Too many bad vibes at that place. He was happy with his decision to stay at the inn. "I have a room here. We can talk in my room or at the bar if you prefer."

"I'm done at six. I should be able to meet you around seven."

He noted how she hadn't balked at meeting him in his room. "I'd appreciate if you came alone."

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