It was nine at night. The police detectives that had been busy for the past few days were still discussing the case around the whiteboard.
"According to the surveillance video, the car drove into the old city one night before the robbery," Peng Xin was explaining the latest piece of information she got. "We couldn't trace the exact direction of where it came from, but we are certain that it was from the south.
"The car stopped in the alley for a night. We talked to the residents nearby. They said that they saw the car when they were going to the bathroom, but they didn't pay much attention to it as it was nothing special."
"That's weird! Did they sleep in the car? Or did they go home to sleep, then returned before the robbery?" someone asked.
"There shouldn't have been anyone in the car!" Peng Xin answered. "It was close to a toilet and the car isn't spacious. It would be difficult for five of them to sleep in there for a night. Plus, according to a witness statement, the car seemed to be empty!"
"If so, we have to count on the surveillance video. Get the investigators to look into it thoroughly to see if there were any suspicious people!" Miao Ying ordered.
"Bureau Chief Luan transferred a few colleagues from other departments to assist us with this case!" Peng Xin continued, "Team Leader Miao, from the site investigations, we have verified the identities of the sixty-six suspects that appeared around the old city during that time frame. Most of them are local residents.
"But there are sixteen with unknown backgrounds, and we couldn't locate them!" Peng Xin pointed at her cellphone and said, "These sixteen suspects' video profiles are in the shared folder! You can take a look at it. We asked the local residents, but no one knew these sixteen suspects. Now, we are looking for them via the Missing Persons Department. Maybe, the suspects will be among them."
"To pick five out of sixteen, that's not a small percentage." Zhao Yanghui clapped. His eyes were red from working continuously for the past couple of nights.
"Don't be so certain just yet!" Lan Bo shook his head. "The robbers are cunning. If they found a blind spot in the surveillance area, our efforts will all go down the drain!"
"Lan Bo, don't be so disheartened," Liu comforted him. "Nothing is impossible. I don't think these robbers are as gifted as those in Now You See Me. They will not be able to escape!"
"Look, everyone," Peng Xin turned on the screen next to her, displaying a map, "This is the old town's distribution map. The red lines indicate the route that the police dogs traced. You can clearly see that the robbers ran separately in different directions. The police dogs couldn't trace them any further after they entered the busy area! From where the smell disappeared, it was within the surveillance area. So there is a high chance that the robbers are among the sixteen people!"
"Mm!" Miao Ying nodded. She turned around and told Zhang Jingfeng, "Zhang, you are an expert in this, the task of looking for these suspects falls upon you. Please go to the Missing Persons Department and follow up!"
Zhang Jingfeng nodded.
Da Fei suddenly stormed in and said nervously, "Everyone, everyone! Latest update! Unlike Qinshan Bank, Tongchuan Bank saved their surveillance videos. We found the person that stored Shao Zhenjiang's corpse in the safety deposit box four years ago!"
Huh?! Everyone was suddenly hopeful.
"It's on the flash drive!" Da Fei quickly inserted the flash drive into the player. The screen started playing the video. From the video, they saw a person that was not too tall wearing a grey jacket. They entered the bank's main hall with a white suitcase.
It was winter then, and that person was wearing a grey windbreaker with the hood on. Just like what the attendant from Qinshan Bank described, the person wore a pair of big sunglasses with a face mask. From the video, no one could tell whether the person was a male or a female. The person found the manager to open an account for a safety deposit box. The person showed his ID, then also signed the application form.
What shocked the officers was that the person, while speaking to the attendant, was showing them their suitcase. It seemed that he was asking the attendant whether or not his suitcase would fit in the safety deposit box. The attendant carefully looked at the size of the suitcase. She nodded and led the person into the safety deposit box vault.
"This box" Miao Ying was investigating the case all this while. She quickly paused the video and roughly graphed the size of the suitcase, then said, "This box seems to be bigger than the others."
"You're right!" Li Beini quickly pointed at the data on the whiteboard and said, "The suitcase used to store Shao Zhenjiang's corpse was certainly one size bigger than the others!"
"Oh, I understand now!" Peng Xin said, "Among the five of them, Shao Zhenjiang's body was the biggest. The safety deposit box in Qinshan bank wasn't big enough, so the suspect went to another bank!"
"That's right!" Li Beini quickly located the details and said, "Tongchuan Bank's standard for safety deposit boxes is slightly higher, but more expensive, of course!"
"How could the suspect carry such a heavy person?" Lan Bo asked.
"They could!" Zhang Yaohui said, "The victims were starved to death. When a person is severely dehydrated, their weight goes down by a lot! Plus, the suitcase had wheels!"
"This is the document that contains suspect's handwriting." Da Fei took out a document and said, "It has the suspect's signature. And the attendant that helped the suspect four year ago is still working for Tongchuan Bank. She said that she still vaguely remembers this as there is barely anyone that goes to the bank to store large suitcases.
"The attendant told us that the person's sounded like a young man, but the ID was a woman's. The attendant wanted to have the person remove their spectacles to verify the photo on the ID, but they refused and claimed that they would leave if they couldn't proceed! The attendant saw that the person was planning to open the safety deposit box for ten years, so she let it slide, and assisted the person in opening an account."
"Then, the suspect should be a man!" Miao Ying cringed and asked, "Da Fei, have you gotten the video from the bank's entrance? Can you see how the suspect got to the bank?"
"I've tried!" Da Fei answered. "Unfortunately, the surveillance videos for outside the bank were not saved"
"ThenLiang Huan," Miao Ying continued to ask, "how is the background check of the five victims going? Are they connected in any way?"
"There are no results as of now," Liang Huan shook his head when he answered. "Besides Gong Xiuzhen and Duan Dacheng being married, there seems to be no mutual connection between the others. It is still too early to conclude, but we are still working on it!"
"Then, maybe the culprit just randomly killed people?" one of the detectives asked.
"If so, it could be the principle of proximity!" Xiao Liu answered seriously. "Gong Xiuzhen went missing in Tongyang, and the others went missing in Qinshan. Maybe the murderer lived in Tongyang, then moved to Qinshan later?"
"That's right! We need to plot the locations of where the five victims were missing and try and piece together what happened," Miao Ying said, then looked towards Zhao Yu. "But Zhao Yu's hypothesis may be valid as well! Maybe the five victims offended the murderer at different times, so the murderer wanted to kill them! If we can find out the reason, we may get closer to the answer!"