Title: We're On The Ball 1/2
Summary: There's something weird in your bank vault. Who ya gonna call? White Collar!
Warning: This may be viewed in some circles as crack!fic.
“Ok, settle down people. NYPD has approached us for advice on a possible case. There’s been a rash of break-ins at banks all over the city. Details are in your folders.” Hughes watched as Peter Burke’s team shuffled into the conference room. His eagle eye fell on their embedded CI, one Neal Caffrey, who flashed him a cheeky grin, his ever present rubber band ball bouncing in those nimble fingers.
He gave them some time to get familiar with the essential details. There would definitely be questions and true to form, a few minutes later, it was Caffrey who piped up with the most obvious:
“So, you’re saying there were break-ins at eight different banks but nothing was stolen?”
“None of the banks have reported anything missing, which is why this hasn’t been very high priority. But in each case, the perp managed to get into the bank vault, wave at the security camera and leave his calling card.”
“A rather unusual calling card,” mused Peter, with a funny little half grin.
“You’re joking!” exclaimed Diana, as she flipped pages in her folder. “He left life-sized cardboard cut-outs of some random soccer players? In the vaults? And he took nothing?”
Four incredulous faces turned to face him and Hughes could feel a headache building even though it was barely 9 in the morning. It wasn’t as if he personally fabricated the more absurd cases just for the heck of it. Only many, many years of people management prevented him from blurting out that little tidbit right there and then.
“So. Soccer players.” Jones was ever the diplomat.
“English soccer players, they all appear to be.” Peter skimmed the police reports. The only list included in the police reports that went into any detail was a list of the players identified and what soccer clubs they had ever played for. Really helpful. But he reminded himself to be charitable since there truthfully wasn’t a whole lot more to go on.
“Well. All the banks were branches of HSBC,” mused Jones. “Isn’t that some sort of British bank?
“Yup. English players, English bank. And the NYPD did preliminarily conclude that there seemed to be a southward trend to the branch locations. Starting at the branch at 9th and Broadway, with another break-in every 48 hours after that,” Diana confirmed.
“Wouldn’t that mean they’re not going very much further?” Neal glanced at the most recent report. “Last night’s break-in was at the Wall Street branch. They got a life-sized cardboard replica of Michael Owen.”
Everyone mulled over that for a bit.
“I don’t get it,” Diana huffed. “Why go to all the effort of implementing an untraceable burglary at all these banks and take nothing?”
“Misdirect?” Jones tried, his dark eyes narrowed in speculation.
“It could be a misdirect for anything.” Peter leaned back in his chair. “Why target HSBC?”
“Should we go look into all the HSBC branches in New York, maybe see if any of them has something particularly enticing in their vaults?” Diana volunteered.
“I don’t know,” Neal mused, shaking his head. “These break-ins are only going to make all the other HSBC branches heighten their security, but who knows. Maybe he’s the type that really believes in casing the joint.”
“OK. NYPD is sending over the surveillance tapes and the...uh. Evidence. I’ll leave you to it.” Hughes returned to the sanctity of his office.
Hours later when Hughes walked back in, the scene hadn’t changed much, except for an exponential increase in paper sprawl covering the conference table and the number of coffee cups littering various shelves, ledges and sideboards all over the room. And of course, the presence of eight, life-sized cardboard soccer players leaning against the windows, gazing down at the three agents and one consultant currently wading through employee histories and security documents. He sat back down at the head of the table and got himself up to speed.
If anyone had been watching they would have noticed the moment an idea popped into Neal’s head, his bright blue eyes narrowing as they scanned the list of targets in front of him.
“Hey Jones, do you have that map of the bank branches that got broken into?”
“Yeah man. Here you go.” Jones slid the map across to him.
Neal quickly spread it out, picking out the bank locations in order, stopping at the most recent one and traced a circle around it. It was like a light bulb went off.
“Oh. My. God.” Neal swung his crossed legs off the table so quickly he nearly fell out of his chair.