March 20, 2011

Late night till-tapping

  A government office in a small town in South Carolina is having trouble — money is missing from the cash registers at city hall.
  A town detective, we’ll call “Bulldog,” is asked by the mayor to work on the problem. Two ladies in the mayor’s office have access to the cash register. Dog talks to both of them and learns nothing substantive.
  Dog even goes so far as to do a stake-out, sitting in the mayor’s recliner all night, but nothing happens. The next morning money in the cash register balances.
  Dog explains all this to the mayor who asks, “Well, what about the $120 that’s missing?” That’s a good question, so Dog promises to look into the discrepancy further.
  Dog borrows a surveillance camera from an electronics dealer he knows. This particular camera is set up for night vision. Dog lets it run all night long for three consecutive nights.
  At the end of that time the cash register is short by $60. Dog runs the tapes but not a single person is in view. He runs the tape several more times. Then he sees movement. “What the heck is that?” he thinks.
  A closer look reveals a rat jumping up on the table, scampering over to the cash register, pressing on a key and opening the cash drawer. Then the rat grabs a $20 bill from the end slot and runs with it to the floor.
  The rat edges through a small opening in the baseboard and disappears. Dog checks around the floor and soon finds tiny pieces of chewed up U.S. currency on the floor.
  An exterminator is hired and after the rodent problem is solved, Dog learns the rest of the story. Rats learned to penetrate the cash register and soon discovered that U.S. currency — chewed up into tiny pieces — makes excellent nesting material.
  These particular nests built behind the walls in the mayor’s office are probably the most expensive nests imaginable. On a positive note, the ladies who work in the mayor’s office are relieved they are no longer considered suspects.

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