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NECKLACD 9' Detective and the case of the stolen necklace

After Lucifer Snidely was sent back to jail, the old lady
donated her necklace to the museum as planned. Every night after
the museum closed, the guards turned on laser alarms that
completely surrounded the display case. Anyone coming close to
the display case would set off the alarm. At last, everyone
thought the world's most expensive necklace was safe from
robbers like Lucifer Snidely. But...

"Michaela. Michaela wake up." said Michaela's mom as she rubbed
her shoulder.

Michaela rolled over and looked out the window saying, "It's
still dark outside. It's not time to wake up yet."

Her mom gave her the phone saying, "It's an emergency."

"Hello." said Michaela sleepily into the phone.

"Michaela, you have to help me!" exclaimed a man's voice.

"Who is this?" asked Michaela.

"I'm the owner of the museum." he replied.

Michaela sat up in bed saying, "Don't tell me. Somebody stole
the necklace again."

"Yes." he replied.

"I'm too tired," said Michaela, "Call the police."

The police are here." he replied, "They need your help. Please?"

"I don't know." said Michaela.

"Please!" he replied, "I'm sitting in my car outside of your
house. I'll give you a ride there. And I'll give you a ride
home."

"Oh, alright." she replied.

When Michaela got to the museum, all she saw was a hole in the
floor where the necklace display case used to be. The hole was a
perfect circle.

Michaela asked the museum guards, "Did the robbers make this
hole?"

The policeman interrupted, "Save your breath. They don't know
anything. They didn't see anything. About five minutes after
they last walked by the display case they heard a crash and they
came running. But when they got to the hole and looked down
through the hole in the floor, the necklace and the robbers were
already gone. We don't know how they got into the museum or how
they got out or how they cut that hole. When the floor under the
display case was cut away, the display case crashed against the
basement floor. The crash apparently broke the glass on the
display case. All the robbers had to do was pick up the necklace
and walk out with it."

Michaela went down to the basement of the museum where the
display case crashed into the floor and looked around asking,
"There's only one door to this room. Are you saying that you
don't know if the robbers came in and out through that door?"

"That's right." replied the policeman, "It took the guards less
that a minute to get here after they heard the crash. And when
they got here, they found the door locked. That means the
robbers had less than a minute to get the necklace and run away.
There is no way robbers would take the time to lock the door
behind them. This door was locked. But there's no tool marks on
the door, the lock or the door post. So, it looks like the
robbers didn't use this door to get in or out. But there's no
other way for them to get in."

Michaela walked slowly around the room and examined everything
before pointing to the floor drain and saying, "This is how they
got in."

The policeman laughed, "You must be joking! That drain is only
eight inches across. I could barely fit my leg into that pipe.
There's no way a robber could fit through there!"

"No," replied Michaela, "but a robot could."

"You think a robot did all this damage and stole the necklace?!"
exclaimed the policeman.

Michaela explained, "This is obviously the work of Lucifer
Snidely. He has used robots before to help with his robberies.
But this is the first time he used robots to do the whole
robbery."

The policeman replied, "But there's a cover over the drain. I
don't see how a robot could get in."

Michaela put her fingers through the holes in the drain cover
and lifted it out of the drain. And pointed into the hole
saying, "I don't think it came into the room. I think it did the
whole robbery from inside the drain."

"I don't get it." replied the policeman.

"First," explained Michaela, "The robot came into the building
through the pipe from the sewer under the street. Then, it
lifted the cover off the drain and aimed a lazer gun at the
floor above and burned a perfect circle in the floor."

"Oh, that makes sense!" exclaimed the policeman, "Only a machine
like a robot could cut such a perfect circle in the floor!"

Michaela explained, "Then, after the display case crashed to the
floor, the robot picked up the necklace and replaced the cover
on the drain before the guards arrived. With the cover on, the
guards couldn't see the robot moving down below. It would have
plenty of time to get away."

Michaela told the police to look for a manhole or a drain cover
outside of the museum where the robbers could put the robot in
and take it out of the sewer. She told them to look for scrape
marks around the manhole cover. She also told them not to open
the manhole until she got there.

A few minutes later, one of them found a manhole with scrape
marks around it. Michaela examined the street around the manhole
with her magnifying glass before they opened the man hole cover.

"Aha!" she exclaimed.

"See something?" asked the policeman.

"Yes," replied Michaela, "the car that was parked next to the
manhole leaked oil from the engine."

She collected a sample of the oil. Then she had the policemen
open the manhole. The tiny robot was still there, but the
necklace was gone. Michaela climbed down the ladder to the
bottom of the sewer and examined the robot with her magnifying
glass.

"Just as I thought." she exclaimed.

"What is it?" asked the policeman.

Michaela replied, "The robot has both a laser cutter and a long
robot arm."

"What does that mean?" asked the policeman.

Michaela explained as she climbed out of the manhole, "Hardly
anyone in the country is an expert on laser cutters AND robots
at the same time. The man who built this robot will be easy to
find."

Michaela asked the policeman to have someone look up the words
"LASER CUTTER" and "ROBOT" and the name of our city on the
internet.

"Found something!" said the voice on the radio, "The first
person listed is a college professor named "Anthony Snidely."

The policeman wrote down his address and they drove to his
house. But before they went inside, Michaela looked under the
car in the driveway. Sure enough this car's engine leaked oil
too. Michaela took a sample and compared it to the oil from the
manhole. They were the same.

So, the policeman knocked on the door.

"Just a minute. I'll be right there." shouted a man from
upstairs.

When he answer the door he had two suit cases next to him and an
airline ticket in his pocket.

"Going somewhere?" asked the policeman.

"Um, ah, yes. I was... I was just going on vacation." Anthony
Snidely said nervously, "Yes, that's it. I was going on
vacation. And my plane leaves soon, so if you'll excuse me...."

With that he picked up his suit cases and tried to walk past the
policeman who held up his hand, "Not so fast. We have reason to
believe that you were involved with a jewel robbery."

"Don't be ridiculous!" exclaimed Snidely, "I'm a college
professor. I'm not a robber."

Michaela spoke up, "One of those suitcases looks a lot heavier
than the other."

The policeman commanded, "Open the suitcases."

Snidely opened one, then smiled nervously, "See? Just clothes.
Nothing more."

"Now the other one." commanded the policeman.

When Snidely open the other suitcase, it was filled with money.

"There must be a million dollars in there!" exclaimed the
policeman.

Michaela asked, "Is that how much Lucifer Snidely paid you to
steal the necklace?"

Anthony Snidely shouted, "I'm not answering any more questions!"

So, the policeman had him arrested. "Search the house for the
necklace." he commanded the other policemen.

Michaela added, "You're looking for a hidden vault."

But they found nothing. So, Michaela started looking in all the
closets, emptying everything out and lifting up the carpet. In
one of the closets, she found a steel door built into the floor.

"I found it!" she shouted, "But there's no lock or push buttons
on it.!"

Sure enough, in place of the usual ten push-buttons, there were
seven square indentations in the steel door. Michaela thought
for a moment then concluded, "This vault can only be opened if
we put seven squares in those seven indentations. Look around
the house for seven squares this size. And, since there are no
moving parts in this door, the squares are probably magnets."

So, they looked, but found nothing. So, Michaela looked.

"Here!" she shouted, "On top of the TV set."

The policeman replied, "I don't see any squares. All I see are
pictures of seven planets."

He was right, of course, but each planet's picture and it's name
were printed on seven square tiles exactly the size of the
indentations in the vault door. When the policeman tried to pick
one of them up, all seven tiles came up with the entire display.

"These can't be the right squares." said the policeman, "They're
glued to the display."

"Pull harder." replied Michaela.

When he did, a tile came off in his hand. So, he pulled hard on
another. It too came off into his hand.

"These tiles aren't glued down! They're held down by magnets!"
he exclaimed.

Michaela explained, "And those same magnets will open the
vault."

So, the policeman ran up to the bedroom closet and inserted the
tiles into the indentations in the vault door. Nothing happened.

"Maybe they go in reverse order." he suggested as he switched
the tiles.

Nothing happened. The policeman exclaimed, "It could take us
weeks to try these tiles in every indentation!"

Michaela suggested, "It seems odd to me that there are eight or
nine planets in our solar system, but only seven tiles. I think
the pictures are just a diversion. Look on the other side of the
tiles."

Sure enough, on the other side of each tile was a single letter.
In the order they appeared on the display, the letters looked
like this:

LIYKENDS

(Can you figure out the combination to the vault?)

"It spells "liykends". That's not a word!" exclaimed the
policeman, "Maybe it has to be a real word. What words can you
spell with those letters?"

Michaela thought for a moment, then suggested, "Maybe it's not
just a word? What if it's somebody's name, like SNIDELY."

Sure enough, when she inserted the tiles into the indentations
with the letters up, spelling the word "SNIDELY", the vault door
clicked, hummed and opened by itself. There was the world's most
expensive necklace.

And, because of the great detective work of Michaela, the
world's greatest detective, the robber was found and the
necklace was returned to its rightful owner.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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