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Undercover secrets untol.., p.18

Undercover Secrets, Untold Lies, page 18


Undercover Secrets, Untold Lies

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  “I know, but we both know that’s not how we’re going to handle him. We’re good cops and play by the rules. Besides, we’re still looking for answers. Killing him won’t get us where we want him. Ready?”


  They walked slowly down the block, stopping every few feet to let the dogs sniff the grass, and let the boys pee on the bushes and trees along the sides of the sidewalk. When they reached the park entrance, they noticed the dark car move forward. The windows were heavily tinted but they detected the shadow of only one person inside. It didn’t look like he was going to get out and follow them, so they stepped up their pace and briskly walked the entire distance of the well-lit trail.

  They reversed their path and headed back home. As Gwen was unlocking the front door, the car made a fast U-turn, sped up burning rubber, then raced quickly out of the neighborhood.

  “Do you think he’s just trying to scare us?” CC asked.

  “Maybe. I’d better let Barzak know, just in case,” Gwen said, pulling out her cell phone.

  “I was expecting to hear from you,” Fred announced, answering on the first ring.

  “You saw the car following us?” Gwen asked.

  “Yeah, we were further up the block. We followed Wright to your place after he left the warehouse,” Barzak told her.

  “He had a meeting at the warehouse with his buddies tonight?” Gwen asked.

  “No, there was no meeting. Wright showed up like he was expecting someone else, but no one showed. He was noticeably angry when he left.”

  “We got him riled up at Tina’s,” Gwen told him, relating the scene he had caused and the threat he had made. “He had the fury of the devil in him when he left.”

  “Good. We’ve got him on the run. You shouldn’t have to worry about him anymore tonight. Checkpoint three has him pulling into his garage,” Barzak told her. “Someone will be stationed there to make sure he stays put.”

  “Okay, Fred. See you in the morning.”

  Gwen relayed everything to CC that Barzak had told her.

  “I can’t wait until he’s locked up for good,” CC said.

  “I’m with you,” Gwen agreed.

  CC picked out the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows while Gwen made popcorn. Cashew jumped immediately on CC’s lap, and Peanut snuggled close to Gwen’s thigh as they cuddled together on the couch. All four were fast asleep before the movie was half over.

  Sometime in the early morning hours, Gwen woke, turned off the TV and lights, and carried CC to bed. The dogs followed and nestled in at the foot of the bed as Gwen slipped in beside her.

  * * *

  At the precinct, Fred Barzak introduced them to Fritz Dietrich, one of his expert technicians. “Now Fritz is going to attach one of these tiny microphones to whatever you carry with you at all times. Most often we put them on purses, attaché cases, or even key chains. It’s entirely up to you, but make sure you choose the item you keep with you all the time. The only place we prefer not putting them is on your guns. If you fired your weapon, it would blow the ears off the person monitoring the system,” he said, drawing laughter from the team. “It may get dangerous from here on in, and I want to know where all of you are at all times. This has a tiny homing device. If you’re in trouble, talk into it. You don’t have to be right on top of it. The mike is so sensitive, you can be up to twelve feet away. Just talk normally if you need our assistance. You don’t need to shout.”

  “But at home, I mean when I’m with my wife…” Scott mumbled, turning red.

  “We’re not going to invade your privacy,” Barzak told them. “Whenever you’re off duty and safely in your homes, call the command center and let them know. You can call them back when you’re ready to have it turned back on. We’ve got someone monitoring twenty-four/seven.”

  “Phew.” Scott let sighed and everyone laughed, causing him to redden again.

  “I do want to alert you, in the event you are called out during your off hours, I will immediately have them activate your monitoring device. We’ve found that when someone is awakened for an emergency call or sudden sting operation, calling in is the farthest thing from their minds, so we do it for them,” Barzak told them. “Scott, I’d rein in those raging hormones if I call you at home at two or three a.m.,” he joked.

  “Yes, sir,” Scott said, sitting up straight and trying not to show his embarrassment.

  All four chose their key chains and were rigged up to the command center within a matter of minutes.

  “This is rather comforting, considering what happened last night,” Gwen commented to Fred, then told the team about Wright spying on her at home.

  “I finally got a return call from Linda,” CC mentioned. “She’s still feeling like someone is watching her, but is more comfortable about it now. It seems she stormed out of her house to confront a man sitting in his car down the street, and it turned out to be a plainclothes cop patrolling the area. They hit it off and she’s now dating him!”

  “Good for her,” Brad laughed. “Fred, how soon do you think we can impound Wright’s car? The lab sure would like to get their hands on more blood samples, if there are any. We’ve already confirmed the green fibers are definitely from his car, but the blood Sammy lifted was so miniscule, they can’t do much with it.”

  “Give us a couple more days,” Fred answered. “Oh, and I have a forensics team scheduled to scour the warehouse after our men are tucked away for the night.”

  “Can we join them?” Gwen asked hopefully.

  “I’m afraid not. We’re looking for every shred of evidence we can find, but we don’t want to disturb anything. If we let them know we’re onto the place, the men won’t use it any longer. I’m still hoping we can get Wright, Algier and Garmer to conduct one of their meetings inside. We’ve installed some high-tech surveillance and would be able to playback any meeting they’d have like an Academy Award movie! I’m sure they’d all give us outstanding performances.”

  “Man, I’d sure like to see that!” Scott exclaimed.

  “It may seem like the pace has slowed some, but it won’t be long now,” Barzak promised.

  Chapter Thirty-Nine

  The following day the task force took the opportunity to clear their desks of other files requiring their attention. They made phone calls that needed to be returned regarding other pending cases that had been set aside as low priority. With the hectic pace the past couple of weeks, it was a welcome change. It was now a waiting game to see when Wright and his cohorts would make their next move.

  Gwen and CC decided to skip going to The Dive and go home early to start packing for the move to CC’s. At Barzak’s suggestion that they keep the pressure on Wright and show him they weren’t backing off because he had followed them, they planned on meeting at Tina’s on the way home for a quick dinner. Thursday night’s special was spaghetti and meatballs, and they were looking forward to a relaxing meal.

  Gwen arrived at Tina’s Pub first, around three thirty p.m. She came face-to-face with Wright and Algier as she entered. They were sitting at the bar having a heated discussion, but stopped talking the minute Gwen walked in. Wright looked like he wanted to strangle her, and Algier slapped a five-dollar bill on the bar and left without saying a word.

  “Son of a bitch,” Wright muttered and threw a few singles on the bar, hurrying out to follow Algier.

  “Wright and Algier just left Tina’s together,” Gwen whispered into the microphone attached to her key chain.

  Rosa was nowhere in sight and there was an older man tending bar. Gwen slid onto a stool and ordered a beer, waiting for CC. She arrived about twenty minutes later.

  “You missed all the excitement,” Gwen told her, recounting the scene with the two men.

  “Sorry I missed it. I would have liked to watch Wright’s face. Any reaction from Algier?”

  “No. He was wearing his usual scowl, but didn’t say a peep. Wright was more concerned with catching up to Algier than going off on anoth
er tirade. I sure hope Barzak is right and this case breaks wide open soon.” Gwen sighed.

  After CC got a beer they moved to one of the small tables. A short, pretty, well-dressed, older Hispanic woman came to their table shortly afterward to take their order.

  “What happened to Rosa?” CC asked.

  “She was fired yesterday. Bad attitude,” the woman said in perfect English. “We’ve had several complaints about her rudeness and neglect of our customers. I hope you weren’t treated badly. I’m Irma and my husband, Walter, is tending bar. We own this place. One of you wouldn’t be looking for a job, would you?” she said, extending her hand.

  Shaking her hand, Gwen replied, “No, but we’ll sure check around and let you know if we think of anyone.”

  The spaghetti and meatball dinner was all you could eat, and came with garlic bread dripping in butter. They both ordered a second helping and stuffed themselves.

  “I’m so full, I can’t move,” CC complained. “And I reek of garlic,” she said, blowing her breath into her hand.

  “No kisses for you. Yuck,” Gwen laughed.

  “You ate the same thing I did!”

  “You’re right. I couldn’t resist kissing you, even with your icky bad breath.”

  She paid the bill and they were just on the way out the door when her cell phone rang.

  “We’re taking them down shortly, just as soon as all the warrants are signed,” Barzak said. “Meet us at the precinct so we can make the assignments. We caught the three of them on tape, and they’ve just left the warehouse.”

  “We’re on our way. Did Wright admit to the murders?” Gwen was anxious to find out.

  “Let’s just say Wright didn’t argue when Algier told him he’d be acquitted for the murders. Algier made it perfectly clear what Wright still owed them, what it would gain him, and how he wanted it paid.”

  * * *

  Barzak’s small office was packed when Gwen and CC arrived, filled with task force members, Barzak’s support staff, special operations marksmen and additional officers. Chief Ziegler had even showed up to take in the show.

  As soon as everyone was seated, Barzak started playing the tape of the earlier meeting between Wright, Algier and Garmer. Just as Barzak had told Gwen, Algier told Wright that the two hundred thousand was just a down payment for destroying any evidence against him for the five murders. Wright insisted that Algier had killed Reyna, but Algier cut him off. Algier then demanded another three hundred thousand and the condo in the Florida Keys if Wright wanted to walk as a free man. Wright’s protests that he couldn’t come up with the money fell on deaf ears, and as soon as Algier was finished making the demands Garmer left the warehouse as quickly as he’d entered.

  Wright tried gaining sympathy with Algier, but Algier only sneered, and told him he’d better come up with the funds if he expected to live. Wright grabbed Algier by the jacket, and Algier roughly shrugged him off, pushing him onto the floor. Algier then made a mocking gesture, pretending to shoot Wright, laughed wickedly, turned and left.

  The tape ended with Wright standing up and brushing himself off with shaking hands, clearly a broken and defeated man.

  “That, my friends, is sufficient evidence to put these three away for good,” Barzak stated over the cheers of the men and women in the room.

  Barzak then assigned Gwen, Brad and Scott as the leads, with two of his staff and one additional officer, making three teams of four. “There are extra bulletproof vests in the corner, if you don’t have your own. Gwen, your team is assigned to bringing in Wright. Brad, you’re responsible for Garmer, and Scott, you’ll take down Algier. CC, you, I and the rest of the team members will split up into twos and block all entrances and exits to the suspects’ residences as soon as the teams let us know they’re in position. Any questions?”

  When no one said anything, Barzak said, “Okay, people. Let’s go get ’em. Good luck and be safe!”

  * * *

  Brad’s team arrived first, and as soon as their backup was in place, Garmer was arrested without incident. As Brad fastened his handcuffs on Garmer’s wrists and read him his rights, Garmer was trying to explain to him that there was a misunderstanding which he could easily clear up when he arrived at the precinct. The man was so confident he was above the law, if he was the least bit upset, he didn’t let it show.

  Scott’s team moved in on Algier, and had to use a battering ram to break down the front door after Algier barricaded himself behind it. The man was belligerent and combative, but was subdued quickly by three of the team members. Scott moved in behind and cuffed him, read him his rights, and helped drag the man to the waiting police van. Algier continued to berate the officers the entire way to the precinct, as if the tongue-lashing he gave his captors could possibly help his situation.

  As Gwen and her team slid out of the police van with their weapons drawn, she felt the whoosh of a flying bullet whiz past her right ear before it crashed into the side of the van with a deafening clang. Everyone immediately dropped into a crouching position and moved behind the vehicle. Bang, bang, bang, bang, Gwen counted the bullets as Wright unloaded his pistol into the van and ground nearby. He had one shot left before he would have to reload, so she picked up a rock and threw it as hard as she could. It bounced on the porch and crashed against the side of the railing, before stopping with a dull thud. Bang. Wright fired toward the sound. Gwen motioned to one of the officers and they ran as fast as they could, each taking one side of the house. The other two followed suit as soon as they saw that Gwen and her partner had made it safely, standing straight and rigid against the outside walls.

  Gwen inched her way toward the back of the house and assessed the back entryway. There was no screen door, so they had just one wooden door to get through. It was doubtful Wright could cover both the front and the back door at the same time, so she spoke into her microphone to the backup unit, “I need you to keep Wright occupied in the front of the house. Keep firing toward the porch, but keep your shots low. I want to take him alive.”

  “Units one and two have already transported their subjects. We’re on our way to assist,” she heard Barzak say.

  “We can use all the help we can get,” Gwen muttered to herself.

  As she rounded the corner and crept toward the door, the young marksman on the other side also moved around the opposite corner to the back of the house. He nodded, indicating he was moving toward the door, backing her up. She moved slowly and ducked low to get past the window. When she got within a foot of the door, she reached out and tried the doorknob. It was locked.

  The marksman put his hand out to indicate for her to stop. He pulled a black leather case from his pocket and extracted a slender tool. Then moving forward, he knelt close to the door, put the point of the tool below the doorknob and a couple seconds later moved away and straightened up. He nodded.

  When she tried the doorknob a second time it turned easily. Two more figures rounded the corner. It was Barzak and another one of the sharpshooters. Barzak held up three fingers and started counting down. As they stormed through the door, there was a flurry of firepower. They scrambled to duck behind the dining room chairs and one of the marksmen kicked over the kitchen table, ducking behind it for cover. As Gwen dove for cover, she felt a powerful blast pushing her back. She grabbed her left shoulder with her right hand, and when she brought it back down it was covered with blood.

  When she glanced back up, Barzak was at her side. The shooting had stopped, but the room was filled with smoke so she couldn’t see past the doorway leading out of the kitchen. The two marksmen were already on their feet, guns pointed ahead of them as they crept through the smoke and into the other room.

  “Take it easy,” Barzak whispered. “Let them take care of it.” He took off his jacket and pressed it firmly on Gwen’s shoulder, trying to staunch the flow of blood.

  It seemed like an eternity, but only a few minutes had passed until one of the agents returned.

  “He’s still
alive, but barely. Tried to take his own life, but just grazed the side of his head. He took one of our bullets to his neck and another to the abdomen.”

  Gwen listened as if she was far, far away. Her body seemed to be floating away to a distant, very peaceful place. She lost consciousness just as the rest of the crew entered the house.

  Chapter Forty

  “You’re not going anywhere,” CC insisted.

  “Come on, hon. I feel fine,” Gwen begged.

  “The doctor said you need to rest for at least a week, and it’s only been two days,” CC said exasperated. “You lost a lot of blood, Gwen.”

  “I haven’t done anything for the past two days, and I’m going to go stark raving mad if I don’t get out for some fresh air. You can drive,” Gwen insisted.

  “Well…” CC was thinking it over.

  Gwen had a cast on her arm from her shoulder to the tips of her fingers. After four hours of surgery to repair the torn tendon, the doctors felt she had a good chance of recovering fully.

  Wright was still hanging in there, and as of today, his chances of recovery were about fifty-fifty. One of the detectives guarding his hospital door said he was starting to talk in his sleep. He was sure he’d be up and trying to escape any day now. The hospital staff didn’t quite agree.

  “Help me get my shirt on and let’s go!” Gwen said anxiously.

  “Just be careful and let me do it! Geez, woman. You are stubborn!” CC finished helping Gwen dress, grabbed the Scarletsville street map and they were off.

  * * *

  The third house they looked at was beautiful, though a few thousand more than they had planned on paying. The yard was fully enclosed with chain-link fencing, and the far end had several mature apple trees. The house was aluminum-sided in light beige, and all the trim was painted hunter green. Inside the rooms were sunny, with a huge bay window in the family room overlooking the backyard. All the walls had a fresh coat of beige paint. There were four bedrooms, with a full bathroom off the master bedroom. Two of the bedrooms were smaller, and had another bathroom between the two. The kitchen and dining rooms were spacious and modern. The living room was huge and had a built-in fieldstone fireplace.

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