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A solve-it-yourself mini-mystery
Be detective in this 5-minute mystery!

"The Wembly Kidnapping" by Hy Conrad

Solve-it #325 - December 2014

Previously published Oct. 1997

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"I know we should have called the police," Eric Wembly admitted as he nursed a bump on the back of his head. "But the kidnapper said he'd kill my brother if we did. And it's not like we couldn't afford the ransom."

Wink Wembly, the elder son of Jonas Wembly, had been missing since Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, a lone kidnapper telephoned the mansion and made his demands. The younger Wembly son, Eric, was to bring the money in unmarked bills in a duffel bag. He was to take a specific route from the mansion, parking in a downtown lot and carrying the bag through an alley to a drop site in a nearby park.

The normally cheap Jonas Wembly was frantic and willingly agreed to the terms. A midnight pay-off. Half a million dollars. And no police.

"I was halfway through the alley," Eric testified, "when I heard footsteps. Before I could turn around I was hit on the head. I fell down. But it didn't quite knock me out. I could see his back by the light of a street lamp. Never got to see his front. He was running away with the duffel bag. A tall guy with white sneakers. He was wearing blue jeans and a dark cardigan. Sorry I can't be more specific."

In the case's one lucky break, a police officer came across Eric shortly after the attack. He called in the crime and a patrol car responded immediately. Two suspicious-looking characters were apprehended in the vicinity, both resembling Eric's description.

"So, I was running," Petey Bordon said angrily. He had been found two blocks from the attack and started running as soon as he saw the patrol car. Petey had a string of priors, all misdemeanors "I'm on parole," he admitted "And I was carrying a knife -- for my own protection at night. That's a violation. Can you wonder why I ran away?"

The second suspect was Arnie Acker, a homeless drifter. "I wasn't even wearing this sweater," he protested as he unbuttoned his moth-eaten cardigan. "I picked it out of the garbage just before you guys pulled me in."

"We didn't find money on either one of 'em," the chief of police told Jonas Wembly. "And we didn't find the duffel bag. But I got a pretty good idea what happened. Don't worry. We'll get your son back."

Who was obviously lying in his testimony?

Petey Bordon
Arnie Acker
Eric Wembly
Not sure

What clue put the police on the right track?