The Missing Masterpiece
Ben, Age 13, Pearland, TX

The wind howled like a pack of wolves on the prowl as I sat in my musty security office waiting for my shift to end, so I wouldnít have to watch all the people in the art museumís halls, like I had to every night. The museumís old building creaked, as if it was alive. I sat there in my office just like any old day in the wretched museum. Nothing ever happened in the boring place, but little did I know that that night was special.

As I sat there watching the clock slowly count down, I heard the sound of shattering glass off in the distance. The horrid sound sent me franticly calling in all the back-up I could find. In all the disarray I forgot to sound the alarm until several minutes later. The alarm caused the gates, protecting all the art, to close but if the robber wanted anything he, or she, could have made off with anything they wanted.

In about 30 minuets, the other cops had arrived to the scene of the crime. After a brief explanation of exactly what happened, the other detectives said we should go check on all the art to see exactly what was taken, so we ambled on to the exhibit to find the most expensive painting taken.

All of us figured it would because of its great value, but we were still surprised that the great masterpiece was not on its spot on the wall. We then figured that all we needed to do was look at the security cameras to figure out the suspects.

After hours of searching tapes we had concluded that there were four possible suspects: Mr. Bigbucks, Bob, Rob, and Sally. Mr. Bigbucks had made a huge fortune in the New York Stock Exchange by buying and selling stocks for a major profit. An hour before the robbery he had talked to the owner of the museum to ask to buy the stolen painting, but the owner refused. Bob was the old security guard who had been fired so I could become the security officer. He had been with the museum for several years and knew is inside and out. Rob has been janitor of the museum for years and has been saving up for retirement over the past several years. He had cleaned the room were the painting was for years and knew that the painting would sell for several million dollars. Sally was a young, teenage girl who hated the museum and all the art in it except for the stolen panting. Her dad owns the museum, but wouldnít let her keep the painting. I had no idea who could have done it, but I was determined to catch the culprit who had stolen the painting.

Now that we had some suspects I figured I should search the exhibit where the painting hung early that day. As soon as I set foot in the room, my nose filled with the intoxicating fumes of cleaning supplies. The smell at first didnít startle me because the janitor had to clean, but then I realized that it was the middle of the day and Rob, the janitor was no where to be found. I was very weary of the clue, but when I went to ask a detective, he told me that the smell was from some finger printing supplies. My first good clue and it turned out to be just fingerprinting supplies.

I was extremely disappointed and decided to search the case where the painting was presented to take my mind of the irony of my first clue.  After investigating the case I found a very interesting key that fit the hole perfectly.  The gold key had a very beautiful design with the letter S. in graved on it.

What could this key be? I did some deep pondering on it and decided to look at the tape one more time. I watched the video time and time again and saw Sally leave with a suit case. Suddenly I realized that the S. stood for Sally and the suit case was the same size as the painting. She must have gone into the museum with an empty suitcase and put the painting right before the alarm went off.

One thing I couldnít figure out was why she, of all people, would take a painting that her dad owns? Everyone knows she loves the painting, but she also loves the money that the painting draws to the museum. I couldnít put my finger on it, but there is something very eerie about the whole situation. I decided to go and follow Sally to see what she did over the next few days.

I had been following her for nearly a week to see exactly what she was up to. The first few days were just as normal as could be, but then I saw her leave her house with a briefcase identical to the briefcase she had taken the painting in.

Suddenly an ebony limo with a license plate that read Big$$ and picked up Sally then sped up. I quit eating my donut began following them in my cop car. They drove for nearly an hour before they pulled in to Mr. Bigbucks enormous mansion. I didnít want them to see me, so I stopped quite a bit before them. I snuck up very stealthy so they would not notice me.

As soon as I snuck up I saw Sally taking the painting out of the case and handing it to a tall man in a black coat. As soon as I saw the transaction taking place, I pulled out my gun and went to take them both downtown. Just then the man took off his coat revealing his true identity, he was Mr. Bigbucks.

I grabbed them both and took them to the station. I had finally become a true detective.

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