At 5am Maria came to gently shake Marvin awake and led him to Patrick’s office where the three of them sat together while Marvin repeated the story.
Patrick smiled. “Now isn’t this a coincidence. We have been working on criminal activities in connection with retirement homes along with other major crimes where huge amounts have been funnelled out of rich families through old residents of the homes This group are very sophisticated and over time place people in strategic positions within these homes to glean information from records on file including bank transfers for payment of services offered. They have people in politics, financial institutions and medical services who give them information they can use and when they break into family bank accounts transfers disappear into offshore bank accounts we have no way of tracing. We have individuals under watch constantly as persons of interest, but they are smart and move their operations regularly.
We do catch small players and they are sent to jail, but they take full responsibility and will not implicate those who govern the syndicates. They seem to prosper when released from jail eventually. Now we are aware of this Sid Green you mentioned. Let’s not worry about him. The woman Grace Willis was also on our radar since teen years she’s only been involved in minor skirmishes with the police and we were intrigued with why she seemed to acquire an up market car and apartment and yet seem to keep her nose clean. We thought she may have acquired a rich sugar daddy but now this puts her onto our radar again as a potential usable front liner for this crime syndicate. I know she’s in serious condition in hospital ICU and in induced coma. We have one of our women in hospital uniform watching over her condition and she is under guard. We were curious about what prompted her to try and commit suicide when she was obviously enjoying the good life but now we have more information thanks to you.
The syndicate will probably look for ways to end her life in hospital as she’d be considered a risk after pulling that accident stunt, so we’d better redouble our efforts there and watch for compromised hospital staff. If she comes out of the coma and when the doctors permit we will have to interview her. In the meantime, you need to get back to your job, so everything looks normal, eat a good breakfast, and get back to work. Don’t try looking into who is possibly compromised in your workplace just leave that to us. There are going to be a lot of undercover people working in and around your workplace for a while checking on everyone. All those under you will be monitored at work and when they leave work to see if we can get a profile on them and their associates. We know how to do that without raising suspicion.
It was a great comfort to know the special crime unit were at work behind the scenes and those under his charge were safe. But one evening he returned home to find his apartment had been broken into and ransacked. He reported this to police and insurance then contacted his personal banks and credit card companies to be alert to suspicious transactions. The banks immediately closed his accounts and opened new ones and credit card companies issued new cards cancelling the old just in case there’d been anything in the home that could have compromised his assets. He was not rich still paying off the loans acquired in support of his higher education but couldn’t afford to lose the little he had.
He informed Maria Murphy of this event and she passed this news on to Patrick. They advised to fit his home with surveillance cameras. That would not be viewed as suspicious by the syndicate who were responsible for the break in and had been looking for any possible prior communication between Grace Willis and Marvin. It would be an expected normal precaution for safeguards to be fitted after that break-in. Their thorough search did not reveal any prior contacts before that meeting at the retirement home reported to them previously between Marvin and Grace. They were extremely cautious and attempted to cover all possibilities. Suspicions dealt with they turned their attention to how to deal with Grace who they now viewed too unstable to be trusted should she recover and to whether to move on rather than attempt to harvest from Marvin’s managed retirement home. Initial indicators seemed to suggest this could result in a bonanza for the syndicate, so they decided to spend a few months developing possibilities and then decide to strike suddenly or pull out to try their luck elsewhere.
One month after the accident the syndicate learned Grace was still in a coma but her other injuries had recovered. If she was in a coma and unlikely to recover someone from her family would have to make the decision on how to deal with her case. They’d not been successful in penetrating the ICU to deal with her permanently so perhaps a responsible relative could be manipulated to have life support cut off? They did a thorough research into her life and going back into her past they worked their way back to her childhood again. She was born Stephanie Ramos. Then they researched all those who’d been associated with her early life and began to systematically work forward in each case with those who’d touched her life in the series of households she’d spent time in before moving to the streets. The computers flagged a Marvin Black in one of those households. Stephanie and Marvin. That was an interesting coincidence. They probed further and discovered Marvin Black had been adopted and his adopted name was Marvin Murphy. This discovery was rushed to the decision makers. Was Grace possibly working with corporate crime investigators? How did they let that happen? Those who recruited her would die for this and they’d have to move on quickly. Had she led them to this retirement home specifically to trap them? They’d have to close this operation quickly but along with Grace or Stephanie as her real name was this Marvin must be put out of the way even if he did have police parents. They must act quickly.
Marvin was in early morning consultation with his staff heads of department and was just wrapping up the meeting when one in staff uniform knocked on the door and Marvin looked up inquiringly.
“We have an incident at unit 34 Sir that you probably need to look into quickly.”
“I better come with you Sir.” The head of security stood to accompany Marvin.
“Thank you Paul, that is probably wise.” Both men strode out the door quickly and the messenger evaporated.
Marvin looked at Paul as they headed for Unit 34. “Paul I don’t recall that person being on our staff, who is he?
“I’ll look into that as soon as we’ve settled at unit 34 Sir!”
Sid Green watched them go and on an impulse he picked up his cell phone after watching the one who’d delivered the message hastily leave the premises and head for a car in staff uniform he’d been observing him for a day. He whispered into the phone. “Incident at Unit 34 mobilize just in case.”
Close by outside the retirement complex in a park a drone was sent into the sky and directed to scan the grounds inside. On a screen in the van controlling it a map of the retirement estate was activated and the controller focused on number 34 and zoomed in. A black van was parked outside the unit and the controller watched as Marvin and Paul approached and went in. After a while Paul and two men appeared led by Marvin. Paul indicated they should get into the van. It appeared he was digging something into Marvin’s back. Marvin entered the back seat and each of the two men took window seats with Marvin in the middle. Paul got into the driver seat and backed out speeding toward the entrance of the retirement estate.
Patrick watched it all on his secure cell phone and spoke to himself. “Be calm Marvin, we have this covered.”
The drone followed the black van at a distance and height that would not flag attention while a fleet of unmarked cars followed behind sometimes passing each other and sometimes passing the black van to try and be inconspicuous and make it look like normal traffic patterns. The black van sped on being closely monitored along the way along with the drone controlling unit following too. The target van exited the freeway and cruised to stop at a truck rest service station and restaurant. Men in the back seat alighted and pushed Marvin toward a parked recreation vehicle. Those watching the drone video saw it all and marked the spot pulling in as if they were planning to fill up with fuel.
Paul departed in the Black van intending to return to the retirement home to mop up. Just before the ramp leading to the freeway a marked police car put on flashing lights and pulled in front of him. The officers alighted with guns drawn. Paul tried to bluff his way out. “What’s the problem officers, I was not speeding?”
“Out of the car and hands behind your back Sir.” Paul felt the cuffs snap into place and had a bad feeling this was the end of the game for him. The officers read him his rights and waited. Another police vehicle soon appeared and one of the officers in the second car put on gloves and extracted keys from Paul’s pocket and drove the black van along with the arresting detail to the local police station. Paul had anticipated joining the rest of the syndicate heads later as they headed for the airport to spend some time out of the country for a while.
Patrick and a small army of plain clothes crime busters surrounded the recreation vehicle whose tinted windows were darkened further with curtains as additional protection from spying eyes outside. One of the crime busters knocked on the recreation vehicle door with a pizza box in hand and shouted out. “Pizza order.”
The door opened and a well-dressed woman smiled. “I’m sorry, you have the wrong place. We didn’t order any pizza.” She was swept aside and one of the team secured her as the rest burst in with guns drawn. “Weapons down and on your knees.” This was answered by a hail of bullets directed their way. One wounded the woman, and two officers were wounded before the two criminals who’d accompanied Paul in the black van went down wounded. The uninjured team sped to the rear of the recreation vehicle and pulled a curtain aside. One distinguished man had an automatic weapon pointed their way and they ducked as a wave of bullets flew over their heads. One shot from a crime busting marksman shot the automatic weapon out of his hand and put another bullet in his leg causing him to slump to the ground. The other prosperous seemingly cultured man had a knife to Marvin’s throat, and a semi-automatic weapon pointed at them. He spoke.
“Gentlemen I know how to use these weapons. I fought for this country in an unwinnable war and was discarded and left to fend for myself on my return. So, I’ve developed resources since that time having learned to look after myself. This is what I suggest I’ll walk out of here with this man and if you try to stop me this man will die first and I guarantee many of you will die as I go down. I will use him as my shield and when I’m safely away from here you will have him back intact. Now what is your response?”
Patrick entered the recreation vehicle and took in the scene quickly noting the wounded. He quickly saw the confrontation between his men and this tall stranger but then his photographic memory kicked in.
“Captain put your weapon away, it’s over old friend. I want to help you, but you must use your good judgment now.”
The man holding the knife and automatic faltered. “Sergeant Murphy is that you? You saved me on the battlefield and helped me after the war was over and I was rescued from enemy prison. I owe you but don’t interfere I won’t be held in an enemy prison again and tortured. Are you working for this evil government? I know what jail is like and will kill myself and this man before that happens.”
“The man you are threatening with that knife is my son Captain Sir, if you owe me anything please spare him for my sake.”
The knife fell from the Captain’s hand and his body shook. Then he turned the weapon on himself and pulled the trigger.
Patrick Murphy cried uncontrollably. He’d helped the Captain who’d arrived back home broken from those years in an enemy prison until the Captain had disappeared. His team led him outside in sympathy with Marvin now untied and shaking in relief.
After Patrick had regained control he organized for a helicopter to transport wounded back to hospital under guard and secured at the hospital to see they didn’t escape before they could be questioned on release. He anticipated syndicate lawyers would soon be knocking on their door to demand access to their clients. But who were the principal decision makers in the syndicate? They’d operated under protection somehow as the case fell apart whenever they were homing in on the top and only underlings would end up in jail while the principals shifted their operating base to another location in the nation.
Then he sought out Marvin who was taken to the restaurant under guard to have something to eat and drink and regain his composure. He’d been convinced it was his end unaware his whereabouts had been constantly monitored for weeks. Patrick hugged his adopted son and spoke.
We can thank Sid Green for his watch care seeing you are alive today. He was our plant in that criminal organization and we placed him there when we heard through underground contacts we needed to be watching activities of one Grace Willis we now know is Stephanie who was a childhood associate of yours. Unfortunately, he only knows the lower level management of the syndicate and I anticipate Stephanie knows no more if she ever recovers and we can question her. We will leave Sid there for a little while as you seek a new security team. Are you up to going back to the retirement centre today after this ordeal? I think there will be a lot of confusion there with you suddenly disappearing from the scene so you need to calm things there and I don’t know if we got all the moles in your organization yet. We will send someone to your home to get your detailed statement tonight. Marvin nodded. He needed to get back to the office. Patrick called one of his men. Take that black van and return Marvin to the retirement office and then drop it over to our laboratory for forensics. I need to get in on the act of questioning Paul. As driver you need to wear gloves, so no prints are disturbed. Marvin you need to sit in the same seat but perhaps you need gloves for the same purpose.
One of the team came running and interrupted the conversation. “Sir we need you over behind the restaurant. Come quickly!”
To be continued.
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