Sheriff Porter 22
I drove toward my home in County Seat thinking I might have to go back to the SBI lab after all. It meant giving control of our cases to their investigators and taking a back seat to their people. I hated losing control of the cases.
Damn it, if I could only get the Colonel interested in the Forensic services. He could surely come up with the facilities. Even if it meant a friendly take over of an existing private lab.
I was still in the car when the phone rang. “Sheriff Porter this is Doctor Angela Simmons at the University Forensic Department. There seems to have been a bit of a mix up with our computer department,” the female voice said.
I put on my sweetest feminine voice to say, “No mistake your computer department head is a dick.” I tried to say it nicely while still letting my opinion show. I have his comments on tape and they are not even close to what we signed up for. I have a son of a bitch who teaches 13 year olds to give blow jobs, then turns them onto the street. I plan to find the son of a bitch today. Your people want me to wait two days while he may be getting out of the country for all I know. I plan to find someone with a link to the super computer and then I plan to expose your sloppy work, so other cops will think twice before signing on with you.”
“Isn’t there anything we can do?” she ask.
“Yes there is. You can train one of my people to access your super computer. In the meantime you can assign a grad student, who knows how to access your computer to take my fucking calls. If I say it is an emergency, you can go to work on it right then. Short of that there is nothing.”
“Well it certainly seems reasonable, that you know your grad student by name, and forge a working relationship with him or her. As for establishing a link to your network, we won’t be able to do that. It’s a security thing for our system,” she informed me while standing up to me. “If you would like, you can turn around, come back here so we can get started looking for your son of a bitch,” she added.
“Twenty minutes and have someone meet me. Oh yes, I’m staying till we get something on this prick, so please have coffee available. I will pay extra for it.”
“I think we can arrange that,” she said.
When I walked into the reception area of the new Forensic Sciences Classroom and Lab building, there stood a young man, who need only glasses with adhesive tape on them to be the consummate geek. He was chubby, had bad skin, and smelled like a he had bathed in old spice.
“I’m Roger Millhouse,” he said.
“Of course you are, and I’m in a hurry can we get to a computer somewhere,” I said.
“Certainly Sheriff. I have been instructed to do anything you ask, so long as it’s legal.”
“And if it is questionable, but not illegal?” I asked.
“They didn’t give me any instructions, but if I were to say ‘The Sheriff told me to do it’ it should cover both me and the school.” he said with a smile.
“Then we understand each other,” I said. He led me into a room not much larger than my storage trailer. It held a couple of desks with keyboards but the money was in the machines with blinking light everywhere. Those were why I put up with all this shit. It was one of the few links to the State’s Super Computer.
“Where do we start,” he asked.
I slipped him an index card with Jamison’s name and all the pertinent information. That information included the access codes to his police file. “You can start by running his credit card. It’s a Master Card issued through the Bank of America. We have a court order and the authorization is on the card.”
“I don’t need it, all that is on your department’s file. Your man whoever he is can do a pretty good job with the crude equipment you have. He just can’t get the hour by hour usage, however, I can. The dean told me you are hunting a really bad man,” Roger said.
“I am Roger and you and I are going to find him. Because everybody is hooked up and wired in like it or not,” I said.
“Just a matter of time,” the kid said. His grammar was so good it embarrassed him, because mine was so bad beside it. “Here we can follow his account minute by minute. Last charge was in Davenport S.C. He bought gas.”
“That was careless of him. He surely had enough cash to fill up his tank,” I said.
“Not where he bought it. It was one of those self service pumps that only takes credit cards after midnight,” He said.
“That was still pretty stupid. Well we have him in Davenport SC. What time did he make that purchase? Looks like three days ago. Do you have anything since?”
“Not on that card, but the bank also issued a separate debit card, and an investment account. It is not linked to either of those, but it has an advance card that is not tied to anything but that account.”
“Why didn’t we find that shit out,” I said.
“Because you can not get access to the bank’s information the same way that I can,” he said proudly.
I almost asked it if was legal, but I decided I just didn’t care at that point. “Okay you have my attention, now prove you are worth all the shit I went through to talk to you,” I demanded.
“He tapped the investment account, because it is the hardest to trace. He moved 10,000 dollars to his pay pal account,” Roger said.
“Even I know what pay pal is. So where did it go from there?” I asked.
“You are going to need another court order for that I’m afraid,” he said.
“Sit you ass right in that chair while I make a call,” I said to Roger. Then I called Mrs. West. “Mrs. West, I need a court order from a friendly federal judge to gain access to Jamison’s pay pal account. Get the information from Eddie or someone, then you write the order.” Roger was waving his arms. “Hold on Mrs. West.”
“What?” I asked irritably.
“If you let me talk to her I can give her the location of a form court order for electronic information,” Roger suggested. I handed him the phone.
It took five minutes to get the warrant in his hot little computer. It took several more minutes before Roger said, “I need to talk to Mrs. West again. She reminds me of my grand mother.”
“Get her to bake you cookies some other time, where is the money trail taking us?” I asked.
“We have the name of an online bank that is used for folks who need to dispense money same as cash. Jamison is using that bank to pay for his get away. If I get a court order, we can find out who he is paying.”
I called Mrs. West but before she could talk to Roger his phone rang. “No I’m fine. You are kidding me. This woman is a dynamo. I have accomplished more in the last hour than I could have in days working the way we do it now. Yes ma’am I understand, but I have court orders for everything I do. It takes at least a day for the professor to get one. This sheriff does it in an hour. Yes I will and thank you.”
“You still want to talk to Mrs. West?” I asked.
“You bet, we are one warrant from finding this prick,” he said with a smile. I noticed then that when the light hit his hair it was a shade of red that wasn’t really found in nature. He also had a tattoo. I changed my mind about him a little. He might be trying to break out of his geekyness.
“Tell me where to go and I’ll get us some coffee,” I offered.
“The student union isn’t too far. Go out the door you came through and turn left. It is in the building with the dome on top. You are going to have to hurry, they close at midnight.”
“They close at midnight we haven’t really been at this eight hours straight?” I asked.
“Yes we have,” he replied.
“Do they have food at this student union,” I asked.
“No, but they don’t allow food or drinking in here,” he said.
“Are you really going to rat me out, if I get a pizza and some diet cokes?” I asked.
“No, if the security people come by, we can eat it in the hall,” he said.
“Tell me where I go to get pizza and cokes at this time of night?” I asked.
“We have a Pizza Take out in the student union. It’s not too awful,” he said.
“Son we are doing god’s work. They will be open when I get there and they will have the best pizza you ever ate,” I said and left for the quick trip.
The pizza was one of those which got made ahead. They had a pretty good assortment. They had a choice, so I got sausage, it seemed likely to be the least upsetting to my geek.
When I got back there was my picture on the monitor getting my ass beat by the flyweight boxer I had to shoot the night before the election. “Don’t tell me you are the kind of guy who likes to see a woman get her as whipped?” I asked.
“I never saw a woman who didn’t cry when she got her finger caught in a door, let alone one took all that,” he said. “You lost a lot of blood there.”
“It was worse than it looked,” I said. “Eat your pizza and then we will get back to work on finding Jamison, aka the prick.”
By 1:00 I had met the security guards and Roger learned their names. We got the break when he used the pay pal account to pay for a prepaid credit card. He didn’t realize we were on his trail. He thought the prepaid card would be anonymous. With anyone else on his trail it might have been, but Roger really wanted to impress me. He did impress me because Jamison used the card to prepay for a room at the seaside bed and breakfast.
I put in a call to the nearest police department and asked that they pick him up as a favor to me. Roger emailed them a copy of a federal fugitive arrest warrant, something about fleeing prosecution. Roger insisted on sitting on the computer till the Duty Sergeant sent word that Jamison was being processed as he typed.
You can send your man down here he waved his right to appeal extradition, the Chief’s email read.
I messaged back, I’ll start a pickup crew down there in the morning.
The return message said, Hell Sheriff it is morning now.
I called the office and had Osborn and one of the deputies drive to Louisiana to get Jamison. It was fun to see the difference in Roger. He seemed a lot less geeky to me after a night with him.
“Okay Roger you and I are going to breakfast. It’s on me,” I said. “You can consider it our first date.” I laughed a little, but he really did look pleased. “Now you can tell anyone that I’m an old lady, and you are dating me out of pity.”
“You have to be kidding Sheriff. When they find out who you are, I’ll be the envy of all the jocks,” Roger said with a smile.
“Well, it’s one of those breakfast at Tiffany’s dates,” I said.
Edited by Walt