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The Unlikely Car thief

REF: 160607

A case came literally to my door recently, and though I have solved it through no personal brilliance and intuition of my own, but with much amusement, I posed the problem to my fellow detectives at the agency:

Recently a close neighbour in the same blocks of flats, knowing I was part of the agency and that my work was discreet, came to me with a worrying case concerning the behaviour of his wife.

One morning, after his wife had left the house, he was looking out of the kitchen window of his first floor flat finishing the washing up. After his wife came out of the front door, he noticed some odd behaviour. Outside the front of the flats, there is enough space for six well-parked cars stationed end-to-end. She walked up to the line of cars and looked through the driver’s window of the car directly in front of the block entrance. Then, she went up to a different car, an expensive soft top convertible sports car, a Mazda MX5, and looked in the window of it. The husband thought nothing of it at first, but the following day as she left the house, she walked up to the sports car again and looked inside, for quite some moments. She had then continued to do this everyday for many weeks.

Now this lady is not the kind of person anyone would put down as a thief, being well-spoken, reliable and meticulously dressed, I couldn’t imagine she was working on a way to break into the car. The first possibility is that she could have been checking the time, but I dismissed that as she follows her routine as precisely as I do in the morning, leaving the house everyday at the exact same time. Then what, was there a possibility that she was not the only person involved in this strange action. Was there something in the car being left there for her to see?

I myself peered out my window and observed this behaviour a number of times in her, and it doesn't matter which order the cars are parked in, she will always look into the MX5 for some moments before heading off to work. I have since observed that the sports car belongs to an older man on the top floor. At least, this particular gentleman washes it every Sunday afternoon, although I have no evidence he ever drives it. When I asked him, he had no knowledge of who the woman was, which I thought strange seeing as we are all so close together here in this block and pass each other many times during the week. The husband being a worrier and something of an obsessive was beginning to have wild thoughts about this strange behaviour.

I kept a wary eye on her in case it was anything untoward. But if there is one person who I couldn’t imagine hot-wiring an old neighbour’s sports car, or having an affair with someone in her own block it’s this woman.

Then exactly four hours ago, I was returning home from a meeting with a client that had for some reason been very awkward. As I entered the block, I walked past my old neighbour’s sports car. Two things occurred to me at exactly the same time: Firstly, the reason why this woman looked into the car every morning. Secondly the reason why the meeting had been awkward.

So my fellow detectives, what do you say?
Signed: Wide-eyes

The solution? As was presented in the case the woman is always meticulously dressed and has a keen sense of how she presents herself. Car windows are the perfect surface to use as a mirror. And the best surface to check one’s reflection? The smooth, reflective and very clean windows of the sports car. She was not looking into the window but at the window, and more specifically at herself.

We found that our associate had left the house with a smear of chutney on his cheek, hence the awkward meeting. A quick glance in the car’s window on the way home showed him both the solution to the problem and the fact that they at times, as we all do, neglect the details.

Signed, The MRBDA Team