(Image credit: Flickr user Carbon Arc)
It was 1 PM when the two officers heard the cry for help. They responded quickly, racing down an alley to find a woman sitting on the ground, massaging a nasty bump on the back of her head. It took them a minute to get her to speak coherently.
Her name was Mary Ramsey. She worked at a jewelry store and had been in the process of taking yesterday's receipts to the bank. "I do this every day. My boss warned me not to use the alley. Today I had a feeling I was being followed. Like an idiot, I took the alley anyway. I heard footsteps. Before I could even turn around, I was hit on the head.
"I fell down," Mary continued. "But it didn't quite knock me out. He was running away with my money bag. I only saw him from the rear. He was tall and had on blue jeans and a dark-colored cardigan."
The officers brought in two men for questioning, both tall and both dressed according to Mary's description.
"So, I was running," Stu Logan said angrily. He had been found two blocks from the site of the attack and ran as soon as he saw the patrol car. Stu had a string of priors, all misdemeanors "Look, I was at the end of my lunch break. I can't be late getting back to work. I need this job." Stu, it turned out, worked at the deli right next to the jewelry store.
The second suspect was Ollie Oscar, a street person. "I wasn't even wearing this sweater," he protested as he unbuttoned his moth-eaten cardigan. "I picked it out of the garbage just before you pulled me in."
"And what about this money bag?" the officer asked, pointing to the other item found on him.
"I got that from a different garbage can. The ones behind the bank always have things like this. You didn't find any money on me. Right?"
The officers agreed that there was only one suspect worth considering.
The whodunit above was provided by American mystery fiction author Hy Conrad.
In addition to his work in mystery and crime puzzles, Hy was also one of the original writers for the groundbreaking TV series Monk.