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Authors: Franklin W. Dixon

The Crisscross Crime (9 page)

BOOK: The Crisscross Crime
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Joe didn't believe her. “That's a good cover,” he said. “Very professional.”

Sylvia looked as though she was going to cry. “Here,” she said. She fished around in her purse some more. She handed Frank a black match-book. “The thief dropped it when you were fighting,” she said. “It landed right by my cheek, so I hid it under my hand until you chased him out.”

Frank held the matchbook up. It read “Hôtel des Alpes: Geneve.” “Switzerland,” he said. “That's where Dad is. You mind if I keep this?”

Sylvia shook her head. “Give it to the police if you think it will help. They'll take it seriously coming from you.”

“Where should we drop you off?” Frank asked.

“My car's still in the Bayport Savings lot,” Sylvia answered.

“We can't drop her off at her car!” Joe said in disbelief. “She's up to her neck in this, Frank.”

“You're not going to skip the country, are you?” Frank asked Sylvia.

“No. I wasn't planning to.”

“See,” Frank said. “We know where to find her if we get proof she's involved.”

“You mean
when
we get proof,” Joe said. “This is a big mistake, Frank.”

Despite Joe's objections, Frank nudged Joe over and climbed behind the wheel. He dropped Sylvia off at her car.

“I still can't believe you did that,” Joe grumbled. He watched Sylvia scoot off in her silver-colored sports car.

“Don't blow a gasket,” Frank said as they pulled out of the lot. “I want to check out the Bay View Motel, where the rental car company said Galatin was staying. I've got a hunch—about something Dad told you on the phone.”

“And . . .”

“Hold on. I'll let you know when we get there.”

Ten minutes later the Hardys pulled into a rundown motel along the highway overlooking the bay.

Frank led the way into the office. There, behind the desk, was a man reading a magazine. A fan on the counter blew full blast, but the little room was still boiling hot.

“Excuse me,” Frank said. “We're looking for a guy who's supposed to be staying here. His name's Earl Galatin.”

“The police were in here a while ago asking about that name,” the man said. “I told them, and I'll tell you—I never heard of him.”

“You mind if we look over your register?”

“Now, you know I can't let you do that,” the old man said. “Got to protect the privacy of my guests.”

“Sure,” Frank said. “I understand. How about this, though? Did anybody pay in cash lately—counterfeit cash?”

The old man scowled. “How'd you know? My wife just come from the bank. She's real upset.”

“Do you have any idea who passed you those bills?” Joe asked.

The man nodded. He reached under the counter and pulled up a registration book. “I figure I got a good idea.” He ran his finger down the list of names. “That's him, right there,” he said, turning the book so Frank could see.

Frank read the name out loud. “Larry Gainy.”

“Larry Gainy?” Joe said. “That's the guy Dad talked about. His real name's Herve DuBois.” He blew out a long breath. “So, that's the hunch you had that you were going to tell me about. How'd you know?”

“I didn't, until now,” Frank said. “I thought Galatin might rent the car and the motel room under different names, but I had no idea it'd turn out to be this Larry Gainy, or DuBois, character.”

“The matchbook from Switzerland,” Joe said. “Now that makes sense, too. We've got to call Dad and let him know that Larry Gainy is here in Bayport!”

Frank nodded. He handed the register back to the man. “You mind if we take a look in his room?”

“The rascal checked out this morning.” The man handed Frank a key. “I don't figure he left anything in there.”

The Hardys headed for Room 116, down at the far end of the motel.

Frank worked the key into the lock, and Joe peeked in the window. The curtains were drawn tight.

“Stupid lock's stuck,” Frank said.

Joe had his face right up to the window. Suddenly the curtains parted. There was a face, inches away, staring back at him!

11 Death from Above

“Whoa!” Joe reeled backward. The face disappeared behind the curtains. “Frank! There's someone in there!”

Frank took a quick step away from the door. “You recognize who it was?”

“No, it happened too quick.”

“Hey, you two! You two fellows!” It was the front desk man, ambling down the walk from the office. “I forgot to warn you about Helen.”

“Helen?” Joe said.

“The housekeeper,” the man said. “Is she in there?” He went right up to Room 116 and rapped on the door.

Slowly, the door opened about eight inches. A timid face peeped out. “Yes?”

Frank guffawed. “Hi, Helen,” he said. “I don't know who was more scared, you or my brother, Joe.”

Joe blushed. “Hi. Sorry I frightened you.”

The girl opened the door all the way. “It's okay,” she said. “I'm almost finished cleaning the room. Give me ten minutes and it'll be ready for you.”

“Oh, no,” Frank said. “We're not staying.”

“We were looking for the guy who stayed here before,” Joe added. “Did you get a look at him?”

“Sure. He was a little shorter than you,” Helen said, nodding toward Joe. “Wavy black hair, kind of a movie star type. You know, that's what I thought he was.”

Joe raised an eyebrow. “A movie star?”

Helen giggled. “Well, not a star exactly. I know a star wouldn't stay here at the Bay View. But an actor, because of all the wigs and stuff.”

“Wigs?”

“Yeah, you know those Styrofoam heads that people use to hold their wigs? I saw two of those in his room when I cleaned it yesterday—a blond one and a real bushy red one.”

Joe looked at Frank. “The redheaded man! It was Herve DuBois.”

“Yeah,” Frank said. “And Larry Gainy and Earl Galatin all in one.”

Helen looked confused.

“You've been a big help,” Frank said to both Helen and the man. “Thanks.”

•  •  •

That night, after dinner, Frank asked his mother for their father's number in Switzerland.

“I already talked to him today,” she said, as Frank handed her a stack of dishes. “He's on his way home.”

“He is? When?”

“He'll be back sometime tomorrow afternoon. Did you need to talk to him?”

“Tomorrow's fine,” Frank said. “It can wait until then.” He brought the rest of the dirty dishes in from the table, then went to find Joe.

He found his brother upstairs, sitting at his desk. He had all the map photos Phil had printed out for them laid out in order.

“Mom said Dad'll be home tomorrow,” Frank said. “Maybe we should wait and show him what we've got.”

Joe had his chin resting in his palm. “Maybe,” he said absently.

Frank pulled up a chair. “Let's go over everything.”

Joe leaned back. “We know at least three of them already, possibly four.”

Frank ticked the names off on his fingers. “Bart Meredith, his cellmate Eddie Racine, and now Herve DuBois. Who's number four?”

“Sylvia.”

Frank ticked off a forth finger. “Okay, she could be the one giving them inside security information. That means we're still missing somebody.”

“How do you figure?”

“Herve DuBois tried to rob Empire Federal today. We know that because of the red wig in the motel room,” Frank said.

Joe nodded.

“We also know that Meredith sat this one out—he was in the courthouse. That leaves the two men who staged the false alarm at the other Empire branch.”

“One of them would be Eddie Racine,” Joe said. “You're right. We've got one more suspect to identify.”

“It's got to be Ron Quick,” Frank said. “He's missing all of a sudden. The crooks are hanging out at his junkyard . . .”

“Yeah,” Joe said. “He's got money troubles
and
there's that expensive copy machine in his office. He could even have been driving the black sedan when we almost got turned into a steel pancake.”

“That leaves two questions,” Frank said. “How do these dudes keep disappearing into thin air? And why would an international counterfeiter like Herve DuBois suddenly start pulling off bank robberies here in Bayport?”

Joe traced a finger along the lines of the video
prints. “It's got to have something to do with these maps.”

“Follow the highlighter,” Frank suggested.

Joe dragged his finger along the orange highlighter that someone had traced over the mysterious yellow lines. “It goes out from the junkyard in two directions,” he said. “Toward downtown one way, and then right off the map into the bay in the other direction.” He found another orange line and traced it. “This one goes from downtown all the way up north to where the map ends.”

“But look,” Frank pointed out. “The single yellow line forks into six branches just before it goes off the map. This map is incomplete.”

Joe pointed to an orange question mark next to the branches. “Whoever marked it wants to know where these branches lead as much as we do.”

“Hang on.” Frank left the room for a minute, then returned with a regular street map of Bay-port. He opened it up next to the schematic. “I think those yellow lines go to the reservoir,” he said. “I have an idea. Let's mark the locations of all the robberies and false alarms.”

“Grand Boulevard and State Street are already scratched on here,” Joe said.

Frank pinpointed the corner of Grand and State on the street map. “Wait a minute!” he said. “That's the corner where Bayport Savings is!”

“Now we're getting somewhere.”

Frank looked up the addresses of First City Bank and the two Empire Federal branches while Joe traced out the exact corresponding spot on the utility map.

“It matches up,” Joe said, his voice hoarse with excitement. “There's a little orange dot at each of those addresses.”

Frank saw where the marks were. “The targets have both been downtown,” he said. “DuBois and his gang deliberately set off a false alarm at a bank on the outskirts of town while the real robbery was going on downtown.”

“A great way to make sure the cops get there late,” Joe noted.

Frank hovered over the map. “See any more orange dots? They could tell us where they're planning to strike next.”

The Hardys searched the maze of multicolored lines carefully.

“Here!” Joe almost shouted. He had his finger out toward the western edge of the blueprints. “Can you find this spot on the street map?”

Frank measured distances from landmarks they were sure of. “The closest I can guess is that it's the corner of Arbor Avenue and Edwards.”

Joe pulled a phone book from his desk. He flipped it open to banks. He ran his index finger down the listings. “Yes. There's a branch of New England National right at that corner.”

“Okay,” Frank said. “It's far from downtown.
If the thieves follow their pattern, that means it'll be a false alarm.”

Joe eyeballed the blueprints again. “No more dots downtown,” he said. “We know where the third false alarm will be, but what's the real target?”

The Hardys worked on this problem for a while. There were several banks with downtown offices, but there was no way to tell which one might be the target. Finally, after midnight, they decided to sleep on it.

•  •  •

The next morning Frank woke up thinking about the baseball game he was scheduled to pitch that night. He'd dreamed that he'd pitched a no-hitter, and he hoped it was a good sign.

Forcing himself out of bed, he placed a call to Con Riley at the police station. He explained the hunch he and Joe had about all the real targets being downtown and all the false alarms being on the outskirts of town.

“I'm impressed,” Con said. “Good work. I'll tell Chief Collig.”

After a quick breakfast, the Hardys decided to drive out to Ron's Salvage again.

“I think the key may be in the missing parts of the blueprints,” Frank said, as he gunned the van down Route 6. “We need to know why there's a question mark right where the yellow lines branch out and go off the map.”

Joe nodded in agreement. “Slow down,” he said. “Don't get too close to the gate.”

Frank pulled the van over to the shoulder of the road, and they got out.

“Whew,” Joe said, pulling on his sticky T-shirt. “It's going to be another hot one.”

They came to the chain-link gate. A heavy padlock hung from the lock. There didn't seem to be any activity inside.

Joe went over the fence first. He jogged over to a stack of compacted cars, then beckoned for Frank to follow. “It's clear,” he whispered.

Once Frank dropped over, the Hardys crouched low and approached the office like marines assaulting an enemy stronghold.

Frank noticed that the big crane had moved. It squatted at the corner of the garage side of the office building. The disk-shaped electromagnet hung above a two-story stack of compacted cars.

The Hardys stopped outside the door and listened. Dead quiet.

Joe pulled out his lock pick, and within seconds they were in.

The place looked exactly as it had before. The desks and chairs were in the same places, and the color copier still sat against the back wall.

“Let's look for anything that might be connected to counterfeiting,” Frank said. “Anything that might tell us what the next target will be.”

Joe went to the desk where they'd found the first set of blueprints. He found nothing new.

Frank flipped through the contents of the file cabinets. “Man,” he said. “Ron Quick owed a lot of people money. I see a whole lot of bills here but hardly any receipts.”

BOOK: The Crisscross Crime
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