THE PASTE REPLICA
Carefully Craig was going over the office. Outside of the safe, there had apparently been nothing of value. The rest of the office was not even wired, and it seemed to have been Schloss’ idea that the few thousands of burglary insurance amply protected him against such loss. As for the safe, its own strength and the careful wiring might well have been considered quite sufficient under any hitherto to-be-foreseen circumstances.
A glass door, around the bend of a partition, opened from the hallway into the office and had apparently been designed with the object of making visible the safe so that anyone passing might see whether an intruder was tampering with it.
Kennedy had examined the door, perhaps in the expectation of finding finger prints there, and was passing on to other things, when a change in his position caused his eye to catch a large oval smudge on the glass, which was visible when the light struck it at the right angle. Quickly he dusted it over with the powder, and brought out the detail more clearly. As I examined it, while Craig made preparations to cut out the glass to preserve it, it seemed to contain a number of minute points and several more or less broken parallel lines. The edges gradually trailed off into an indistinct faintness.
Business, naturally, was at a standstill, and as we were working near the door, we could see that the news of Schloss’ strange robbery had leaked out and was spreading rapidly. Scores of acquaintances in the trade stopped at the door to inquire about the rumor.
To each, it seemed that Morris Muller, the working jeweler employed by Schloss, repeated the same story.
“Oh,” he said, “it is a big loss—yes—but big as it is, it will not break Mr. Schloss. And,” he would add with the tradesman’s idea of humor, “I guess he has enough to play a game of poker— eh?”
“Poker?” asked Kennedy smiling. “Is he much of a player?”
“Yes. Nearly every night with his friends he plays.”
Kennedy made a mental note of it. Evidently Schloss trusted Muller implicitly. He seemed like a partner, rather than an employee, even though he had not been entrusted with the secret combination.
Outside, we ran into city detective Lieutenant Winters, the officer who was stationed at the Maiden Lane post, guarding that famous section of the Dead Line established by the immortal Byrnes at Fulton Street, below which no crook was supposed to dare even to be seen. Winters had been detailed on the case.
“You have seen the safe in there?” asked Kennedy, as he was leaving to carry on his investigation elsewhere.
Winters seemed to be quite as skeptical as Schloss had intimated the public would be. “Yes,” he replied, “there’s been an epidemic of robbery with the dull times—people who want to collect their burglary insurance, I guess.”