Gladys Jefferson lives in a small Americana town, with its single traffic light and the usual safe and comfy feel. While her husband serves as the town’s unofficial mayor, she has made a name for herself with her renowned and delicious strawberry-rhubarb pie.
On this particular morning, Gladys (rather Mrs. Jefferson) stands on the steps of the unofficial town hall at the Wooden Nickel Café. She appears very distraught as she tells her husband and others about someone or something.
Sgt. Joe Friday (yes, you have heard of him before), has been visiting his family over the past few days. He just happens to be walking down the sidewalk when he runs into the big scene filled with people standing around Mrs. Jefferson. With his curiosity and stellar detective skills always are alert, he decides to listen in.
“Early this morning, someone or something stole my freshly baked strawberry-rhubarb pie right off of my kitchen window ledge,” Mrs. Jefferson cries out.
Growing more frustrated with each word, she continues on, “I always leave a pie near the window so that it will cool more quickly.”
In a town with a little or no crime, the disappearance of one of Mrs. Jefferson’s famous pies is big news!
Sgt. Friday waits for the crowd to disperse, and he then approaches Mrs. Jefferson to ask her some questions.
Unnoticed, Mr. Jefferson skedaddles away quietly and heads back to his office. He seems a bit perturbed with his wife’s emotional outburst on the main street of their quiet town.
After introducing himself, Friday begins to ask questions as he records some notes on his always-ready notepad. “Ma’am, please give me the facts about what happened. Perhaps I can help,” the detective states in his usual calm, professional manner.
As composed as possible, Mrs. Jefferson restates the facts of the theft to Sgt. Friday. When she becomes a little emotional, he hands her his handkerchief and reminds her, “Just the facts, ma’am.”
Eventually, the detective and Mrs. Jefferson are finished with the interview.
She reminds Friday, “I only left the pie there for five minutes. My goodness, what can happen in five minutes?”
With Mrs. Jefferson’s permission, the knowledgeable detective works out an undercover operation which just might catch the thief in the act again.
Sgt. Friday has a hunch about this caper, and he thinks there must be someone, with insider information, aiding and abetting in this crime. He plans to relax and enjoy a good night’s sleep before laying his trap.
Early the next morning, the seasoned detective hides across the street from the Jefferson’s house. The large lilac bushes provide a perfect lookout to view the kitchen window on the side of the house.
Right on cue, Mrs. Jefferson sets her freshly baked strawberry-rhubarb pie on the kitchen window sill to cool. Friday waits patiently to see if his stake-out will lead him to discover some answers.
How are you doing in solving this case? Do you have a list of suspects? Stay tuned for the conclusion of this story as Sgt. Joe Friday attempts to solve this “Sweet Caper.”