The Thrill Of The Case

"Hey, Jim, doesn't that look like the stolen car that dispatch just reported?" Blair asked, pointing off to the side.

Focusing, his sight, Jim said, "Yeah. And the license number is right, too." He flipped on the lights and siren and came up behind the blue SUV. When the driver pulled over with no fuss, it pinged his instincts, and he resolved to keep a close eye on the proceedings in case either the driver or his passenger tried something.

Puling the truck up behind the other vehicle, he parked and stepped out of the car, gesturing for Blair to follow him. He walked over to the driver's side door and waited as the kid behind the wheel rolled the window down halfway. He looked about seventeen and had messy blond hair past his ears. His passenger was Hispanic, with a ponytail, and looked a year or so younger.

"I'm Detective Ellison; this is my partner, Detective Sandburg," Jim introduced himself.

"Detectives," the kid said pleasantly. "Was I speeding?" A nervous frown creased his forehead, but he didn't seem to be too worried.

Jim frowned inwardly when he realized the kid didn't even seem to be scared. "No, actually, this car has been reported stolen."

His eyes went wide and his heart rate sped up. "Hey, man, this car wasn't stolen – I have the keys right here," the tow-headed kid objected, gesturing to the ignition where a set of keys on a pewter key ring swung freely.

"Jim?" Blair asked, sotto voce.

"He's not lying, but I don't understand how they couldn't be," Jim said quietly. "I mean, the car was reported stolen."

"But he has the keys," Blair pointed out. "And the report didn't say anything about them being stolen, too." Thinking for a moment, he asked the two kids, "What are your names?"

The driver did his best to hide his scared look as he said bravely, "I'm David Tanner."

"Mark Alvarez," the Hispanic boy said, grimacing nervously.

"All right, let me get the rest of the details on the report." Picking up the radio, Blair called dispatch. "Hey Anderson, what's the name of the person who reported that stolen Jeep, license plate Tango-Echo-Bravo, 946?"

"Susie Tanner," came the mildly garbled reply.

"That's my mom!" David cried.

Shooting his partner a disbelieving look, Jim said to David, "Look, kid, I can see what's probably happened here, but the car was still reported stolen. I'm gonna let you call your mom, and if she confirms you are who you say you are, I'll call dispatch and have the APB taken down, okay?"

Nodding frantically, words almost tripping overt themselves to get out of his mouth, David said, "Sure thing, Detective. I swear I didn't do this on purpose."

"We know, David," Blair said soothingly. "Things like this happen. It's nobody's fault."

Jim quirked a grin. "Though your mother might feel differently."

David gave a pitiful sigh of agreement. Hell hath no fury like a pissed off mother.

Fifteen minutes later, David had called his mother and she had confirmed his identity. While Blair called in to have APB taken down, Jim had to hold back his chuckles as he caught snatches of David's phone conversation. The kid was obviously getting reamed over the phone line. Once Susie Tanner was finished haranguing her only son and David and Mark had headed off – presumably to return Susie's car and get a face-to-face scolding – they both headed back to the truck.

"You know, Jim" Blair started.

"What, Chief?" Jim asked.

"Things might not always be exciting in police work…but they're never boring." Blair chuckled.

"Ain't that the truth," Jim agreed.