“Did you say it loud enough for it to be heard on the audio of the surveillance footage?” Jinsei asked expectantly.
The staff member shook his head sadly, “no unfortunately it didn’t pick it up.”
“Anyone could just say ‘no, stop it, I don’t want to do this’ while taking something. It doesn’t prove his innocence,” Condor stated to Jinsei with his arms crossed.
“Please. You have to believe me! I didn’t do it. I love where I work and I’m proud of my job. The last thing I would ever want to do is jeopardize that!” the guy cried, “please, please, help me I need this job. I need a job. My baby sister….” his eyes welled with tears and he choked up, just the look on his face was enough to make Jinsei soft with sympathy and she looked up at Condor with pleading eyes.
“Let me review the footage again,” Condor said with resignation, “Jinsei, you stay here and I’ll be back.”
“M-Me?!” She gasped, “uh… ok?” She looked nervously at the staff member and fiddled with her fingers.
Condor pushed off from the wall and strolled to the door, “I’ll be back soon,” he said as he headed out.
The door clicked closed softly and the guy immediately called Jinsei’s attention.
“Hey listen,” he said softly with concerned eyes, “you believe me, right?”
Jinsei nodded, “yes, I do.”
“Please put in a good word for me then with hero Condor, I’m telling you the truth when I said I didn’t do it. I’m just really worried because my baby sister is really sick and I’m paying for her medical fees and I’m really worried that they’re gonna find out and think it’s a motive for me stealing the jewels so I can pay for her treatment,” he said, tears welling in his eyes, “I have no way to prove that I didn’t mean to do it but I’m hoping that you might be able to help?”
Jinsei’s heart sank, a small seed of doubt springing up on her mind, “what if he IS lying? What if he did do it and this is his motive? Would that be considered a compassionate motive like what we learned in class and would his sentence be lessened because of it?”
The worker could see the hesitation on Jinsei’s face once he had revealed this information and he grew more worried.
“Please believe me, please,” he begged, “I don’t know what else I can do. I’ll do anything to help!”
“Ok,” Jinsei said calmingly, “don’t worry, I’m a hero in training, I’ll do my best to find out what’s happened, ok?”
The look of hope that bubbled up just under the surface of the staff members face warmed Jinsei from the inside out and she determined that she would do her best to follow through with her promise.
Just then Condor returned and looked at the guy, who was sitting a little straighter in his chair.
“I’ve watched the footage…and I can’t say that there’s anything off about the video.” Condor stated, “do you know anyone who would want to see your demise? A co-worker who would be willing to frame you?”
“No,” the guy replied, “no one that I can think of.”
Jinsei thought hard, furrowing her brow as she pondered Condor’s question.
“Condor?” she asked suddenly, “you said that this same situation happened twice before. At the other theft, the staff members involved, did they have a motive?”
Condor looked at Jinsei, surprised by her question.
“Yes actually, both did have a motives…”
“Can I talk to you in private for a second?” Jinsei said quickly, glancing at the staff member in the room.
He paled a little, wondering if Jinsei was truly on his side or if she was about to rat him out and seal his doom.
Condor nodded and followed Jinsei out into the hall.
“Condor, I have a theory, what if the person behind this… the person somehow controlling them… is targeting people with motives so that it looks like they had a reason to steal?”
Condor blinked at Jinsei, utterly speechless.
“Why didn’t I think of that?” He thought, looking down at the smart girl before him, “does this staff member have a motive?” he asked.
“I am disinclined to say,” Jinsei said professionally and Condor had to bite the inside of his cheek to stop himself from smiling with amusement.
“Well, I appreciate you defending the accused,” he mused, “but we will need to gather all the evidence possible to work this situation out.”
“Oh,” Jinsei said sadly, deflating a little.
“Regarding the other staff members from the previous theft- one was behind in his rent because he was paying off his mother chemotherapy treatment and the other had just bought a car and was desperately needing repairs done in it,” Condor said.
“Well this staff member has a sick little sister and he’s paying for her treatment,” Jinsei said, “I just find it interesting that all of these staff members have had- what most people would say, perfect motives for wanting to steal. It’s too concrete.”
“And what makes you suspicious of that?”Condor asked curiously.
“Well, if I were a villain, a smart villain, I would choose people to frame that had something happening in their lives that would help to incriminate them. For example- a solid motive, previous bad track records, you know… stuff like that.”
“Shes perceptive,” Condor thought, rubbing his chin with one hand, “Jinsei you have a point. Let’s look into this more.”
“Really??” She gasped with excitement, “you’ll look into it and see if there’s someone else behind it?”
“Yes, of course. Do you believe he is innocent?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Well, that’s your gut instinct. Gut instincts are never wrong,” Condor said, “exactly like how I can feel that something is not right with Kana…” The winged hero’s mind wandered to worrying about his friend for a moment, then snapped back to the present, “you go back to the other three in the viewing room and I’ll have a talk to the staff member,” he said, turning and heading back to the interview room.
Jinsei nodded and went back to where the super intendant, Soshi, and Chi were, beaming as she stepped through the door.
“That was really good how you got his motive,” Chi said with a sneer as Jinsei walked over to him, “now we have a solid reason for him doing it and can lock him away!”
“I believe he’s innocent,” Soshi said to Jinsei, “if he were guilty he wouldn’t have wanted to admit to you about his baby sister being sick.”
“I agree,” Jinsei said with a smile at Soshi, “No guilty person would just admit a motive like that.”
Chi scowled, “I just can’t seem to win Jinsei over with anything… but I’ll be the hero in this… I’ll show her how awesome I am. Then she’ll fall for me.”