Is that empty? Nelson thought looking at the till in disbelief. Calm down Jim and get the situation under control. He took a deep breath and then turned his attention to the woman in the booth. “Miss! Miss! I’m a police detective. I need you to calm down and explain what happened,” keeping his voice subdued and fixing his eyes on hers.
The young woman struggled to catch her breath. “Th-the-the m-m-money is all g-g-gone,” dropping her face into her hands and weeping.
“Don’t worry, everything is going to be okay. Miss, can you tell me your name?” Nelson asked trying to reassure the young woman.
“M-m-my n-name is S-S-Sarah,” starting to compose herself.
“Sarah my name is Jim,” he said, giving Sarah a warm smile. “Now I’m going to help you out. The first thing I need you to do is call your security team.”
“O-ok then what do I do?
“Wha…Nothing, just call security,” Nelson said, slightly disturbed that the young woman asked questions.
“Hello Sierra, we have a problem,” Sarah said, her voice cracking in fear.
“Who has a problem? It better not be something serious because I haven’t had my morning coffee yet,” Sierra said, chuckling.
“It’s Sarah in booth one. The m-m-money in my till it’s g-gone,” the young woman said, struggling to keep from crying.
“You’re kidding, right? If this is…”
“This is no joke. I opened up my till, and there was no money.”
A deep angry breath came across the radio, “Sarah listen to me very closely, close up your booth and do not move from there. I am at the other end of the park in my office, but I will be at your location in about five minutes,” the radio seemed dead from the uncomfortable silence. “Do you understand?”
“I do,” Sarah’s voice cracking in fear. “There’s a detective at my booth, can I have him help me close off my booth?”
“Yeah…Whatever, just don’t let him in your booth,” the radio clicked off, and then Sarah turned to Nelson.
“Off…I mean Jim, can you help me close off my line? Our security supervisor will be here in five minutes,” Sarah said, the look of stress blanketed her face. “I would be glad to give you a hand,” Nelson said, pulling his wallet from his pocket and holding it in the air. “Hello everyone, I’m sorry to do this to you, but Sierra needs a break for a couple of minutes; so if you could move to the other lines, it would be greatly appreciated,” Nelson commanded pointing to the five other lines that lead into the park.
Slowly the people found their way to the other lines and went back to their activities that were briefly interrupted by Nelson’s announcement. Sarah looked at the detective with a smile that said thank you, and then she pointed to a person marching to the booth. “There she is,” Sarah said, her expression changing to relief, opening the door to the booth and waiting for Sierra.
The supervisor walked to the door. “Hi Sarah, how are you?” she said, with a grim look on her face.
“I’m okay,” Sarah said nervously. “H-h-how are y-you?”
“I’ve been better,” Sierra said, glancing around the inside of the booth. Nelson caught Sierra’s eyesight. “Jim…Jim Nelson is that you? She said standing by the window of the booth.
“Sierra Stones, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes,” Nelson said, giving the woman a broad, toothy smile.
Stones returned Nelson’s smile and then resumed her search through the booth. She was interrupted by a voice that rang out from the security guards radio. “HELP!! I need some help!!!” the voice screamed.
“Which booth are you in?” Sierra asked the person.
“I-I-I’m at booth two,” the voice choked out.
“I’ll be there shortly. Close up and stay put,” Stones commanded, turning to Nelson. “Jim can you give me a hand. This tiny robbery turned in to something more serious, and I don’t have the resources to handle an investigation this big,” Stones said, looking at Nelson pensively.
“Sure, I will do whatever you need.”
“First thing, call your captain because two robberies in the same day is too much for us to handle. Also, this feels like there will be more thefts,” Stones sighed heavily. “The second thing I need you to do is look for clues in this booth. That’s your greatest skill,” Stones commanded before turning her attention to Sarah. “Those guards are going to take you to my office so that you and I can talk about the money and how it just disappeared,” giving the younger woman a stern look.
Two overweight men walked up and spoke to Sarah. “Ma’am, we need you to come with us,” the older guard said, watching Sarah’s posture change from strong to weak, as her body slumped.
I’ll leave this radio for you Jim so we can keep in touch,” Stones said, keeping an eye on the three people disappearing into the park. As soon as the group was out of sight, the security supervisor marched to the next booth that had been robbed.
Nelson scanned the booth. “Okay Jim where’s a good place to start your investigation,” he mumbled, placing his hands just above the stainless steel register. “All sales are punched into the machine here so that every sale is recorded,” letting his hand move to the sides of the register.
“The transaction is completed, and they have to push this button,” putting his forefinger above a worn green colored button. “Then the till opens with a ding, and then money is exchanged. All done.”
The detective tried pushing the cash drawer to open it, but it didn’t move. “So if Sarah could sneak the money out of the till without anyone seeing her, where…” squatting in front of the register. “Well, what do you know,” looking at the around the shelves that held the register.