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The Dream Doctor

14. The Crimeometer
The alarm wakened me all right, but to my surprise Kennedy had already gone, ahead of
it. I dressed hurriedly, bolted an early breakfast, and made my way to Trimble's. He was
not there, and I had about concluded to try the laboratory, when I saw him pulling up in a
cab from which he took several packages. Donnelly had joined us by this time, and
together we rode up in the elevator to the jewelry department. I had never seen a
department-store when it was empty, but I think I should like to shop in one under those
conditions. It seemed incredible to get into the elevator and go directly to the floor you
wanted.
The jewelry department was in the front of the building on one of the upper floors, with
wide windows through which the bright morning light streamed attractively on the
glittering wares that the clerks were taking out of the safes and disposing to their best
advantage. The store had not opened yet, and we could work unhampered.
From his packages, Kennedy took three black boxes. They seemed to have an opening in
front, while at one side was a little crank, which, as nearly as I could make out, was
operated by clockwork released by an electric contact. His first problem seemed to be to
dispose the boxes to the best advantage at various angles about the counter where the
Kimberley Queen was on exhibition. With so much bric-a-brac and other large articles
about, it did not appear to be very difficult to conceal the boxes, which were perhaps four
inches square on the ends and eight inches deep. From the boxes with the clockwork
attachment at the side he led wires, centring at a point at the interior end of the aisle
where we could see but would hardly be observed by any one standing at the jewelry
counter.
Customers had now begun to arrive, and we took a position in the background, prepared
for a long wait. Now and then Donnelly casually sauntered past us. He and Craig had
disposed the store detectives in a certain way so as to make their presence less obvious,
while the clerks had received instructions how to act under the circumstance that a
suspicious person was observed.
Once when Donnelly came up he was quite excited. He had just received a message from
Bentley that some of the stolen property, the pearls, probably, from the dog collar that
had been taken from Shorham's, had been offered for sale by a "fence" known to the
police as a former confederate of Annie Grayson.
"You see, that is one great trouble with them all," he remarked, with his eye roving about
the store in search of anything irregular. "A shoplifter rarely becomes a habitual criminal
until after she passes the age of twenty-five. If they pass that age without quitting, there is
little hope of their getting right again, as you see. For by that time they have long since
begun to consort with thieves of the other sex."
 
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