Elmer flipped through his paperwork. “Well it’s not easy. Probably all of the guys could fit the profile. Right age group, maybe some with grudges about not being in the starting line-up.” He thought some more. “Physical disability unlikely among the players; although many potential stars end up crocked or just become second-rate.” He shook his head. “It’s not an easy call, Mac.”
“Somehow, someway, we need to investigate their backgrounds and medical histories, and maybe also get some fingerprints without anyone knowing about it. Any ideas?” asked Mac, trying to keep a straight face. It wouldn’t be the first time they had moved justice along.
Elmer caught the look. He mouthed silently, asking if the room was bugged.
Mac shook his head. “Not this one.”
Elmer relaxed. “What’s their set up?”
“They got a makeshift office at the stadium. It’s more than likely they got most, if not all, of their records on computers. I know because I got BG to get me a list of people on their payroll for the last few years. It was a print-out.”
“It’s the pre-game fire safety inspection set-up, then.” One of their tried and tested techniques.
“Yeah, our precaution with all those fireworks around the stadium,” replied Mac.
“Shall I go and get our tech in?”
“Okay, you do that while I clear it with Andy.”
Mac hung a ‘do not disturb sign’ on the door and went searching for Andy. He was in the incident room sitting at a desk that was buried in an avalanche of paper. Andy glanced up when he approached. Already a frown was beginning to appear.
Mac held up a hand, and pursed his lips. “Andy, I just need our tech to copy some records. Part of a fire safety inspection before the game. Demonstrate to the Bees’ management why back-ups are essential. They’ll thank me for it.”
Andy twirled his pen around. “Apart from it being illegal, you realize you can’t use any of this if it came to court,” he replied. Said in a way that wasn’t dismissive, like he was interested in Mac’s plan.
Mac decided to press home his advantage. “We’re going to nail this perp. This is the quickest way to avoid a whole load of casualties. If it came to it we’d request the records officially later.”
Andy smiled. “What’s that you said?” he asked, getting up from his desk, and waving Mac away. “These days I’m a little hard of hearing.”
Mac got the message loud and clear. Sanctioned. He buzzed back down the corridor to the interview room. The sign was still there. Flipped over. Some joker had written, ‘Quiet. Room sleeping.’
As if only, thought Mac. Already time was ticking down.
Five minutes later, they reconvened with the techie. Mac carried the ball on this one. “Riley, we need you to copy some computer files.”
Riley looked puzzled. “Which ones?”
“Not here. At the stadium. Bees’ personnel records. If we time it right, the desktops will still be in access mode, so you won’t need to hack in past any password systems. You with me so far?” said Mac.
Riley caught on. “You want me to commit a felony, right?” he asked. “You cleared this up the line?”
Mac shook his head. He hoped Riley wasn’t going to prove difficult. Another blinkered geek, not living in the real world. The one where people get hurt and die. “The line’s not involved. Officially, that is. As far as you’re concerned, you’re just demonstrating proper back-up procedures.” He nodded to Elmer. “Any heat, we’ll take it, not you.”
Riley sat back and folded his arms. “Okay, let’s hear it.” Like he was in charge.
“We’re holding a pre-game fire safety inspection at the stadium. We’ll call in one of the fire department boys to help us out,” said Mac. “It will be their request, with our backing.” He got up and stretched. “When the alarm sounds, everyone will vacate the building.” He put his hand on Riley’s shoulder. “This is a bona-fide fire safety inspection, everything above board.” He squeezed a little. Riley flinched. “Now the tricky bit. We can hold them outside while you copy the records. I’ll show you where to go. How long do you need?”
Riley felt the pressure. “What records we all talking about here?”
“All of the current team players and coaching staff. If you can split the main players and the back-ups, even better. At the very least I want their personnel background and medical histories. That should be no more than fifty records all told.”
“Is that all?” Riley said it in such a way that meant it wasn’t that straightforward.
“No, you need two copies’” replied Mac, ignoring the sarcasm. He swiveled round Riley’s chair to face him. “We’re not playing around here, it’s as serious as it gets. One copy you put in your bag and the other you hand back to them. Don’t worry, I’ll do the talking.”
Riley considered it. “Let me work on our own records first,” he said.
“We haven’t got much time,” said Elmer, before Mac got too irritated.
Riley saw the look that was exchanged between the two detectives. He opened his arms in a conciliatory manner. “You want the files, cut me some slack while I go figure out the best way. I may have to program a disk. Give me two hours tops, ok?”
“What you waiting for, then?” replied Mac.