- The Reverend Billy’s accomplice.
- Billy mailed a confession to Chief Atkins. His accomplice broke in to recover it.
- Because a) it occurred after the mail delivery, and b) no mail is delivered on Sunday.
Here are the facts Chief Atkins had to deal with. The break-ins occurred on Friday, Saturday and Monday between 11:30 and noon, shortly after the mail delivery. Nothing was stolen or disturbed and, on the last occasion, it’s known that the intruder didn’t take more than a few steps into the house. Eventually, the answer dawned on him. The intruder had been after a piece of mail. And that’s why no break-in occurred on Sunday.
Armed with this theory, Chief Atkins pieced together a plausible scenario. On Wednesday night, the last night before his disappearance, the Reverend Billy telephoned his accomplice back and revealed his determination to mail his complete confession to Chief Atkins’ home. He would then run away. In order to escape arrest, the accomplice knew he had to intercept the letter before Chief Atkins had a chance to open it.
The earliest possible day for the letter’s arrival was Friday. For three days, the accomplice lay in wait, watching for the Elm Street mail delivery. Each day, after the postal carrier vanished around the corner, the accomplice broke into the house, staying just long enough to check the freshly delivered mail. On Monday morning, the Reverend’s letter finally arrived and the accomplice retrieved it from the entryway floor.
Postscript: The Reverend Billy Green was apprehended two months later in Fort Lauderdale. He readily confessed and named his accomplice, the Second Baptist Church’s choir director.