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Give Cheetos a Chance
Mysteries by Kids 2: April 1998
by Sandi

Something was missing. I began to examine the fingerprints with my magnifying glass, when I heard a noise behind me. I heard the rattle of the door knob so I scooted under the desk to hide. The door opened, and from under the desk I could see the shoes of the evil Courtney. Courtney was the meanest girl in school.
Tiptoeing, Courtney walked to the desk and moved the papers around looking for something. I would have thought that she was the thief but it wouldn't make sense that she would come back to the scene of the crime. As I watched her shoes she turned and walked out of the room without taking anything. Softly, she closed the door behind her.
I was there because someone had stolen the answers to the math exam we were supposed to take today. Ms. Nelson had confronted the class and told us that this would not be accepted and that we had the rest of the day to confess or to put the answers back on her desk. I didn't think anyone would confess so it was up to me to discover who the thief was.
Crawling out from under the desk, I continued my examination of Ms. Nelson's desk. Something was missing and I couldn't think what it was. Once again I put my magnifying glass over the fingerprints. I discovered that the fingerprints were orange. That was odd. Looking around for something that would leave orange on a person's fingers I realized what was missing! Ms. Nelson always kept a bag of Cheetos on her desk for any kid who forgot their snack. Since we hadn't had snack time yet, the Cheetos bag should have been there. So whoever stole the answers to the math exam had also helped themselves to the Cheetos!
Taking a piece of scotch tape, I laid it across the fingerprints, lifting them onto the tape. I then put the piece of tape with the fingerprints onto a file card I had in by back pocket. This way I could take the fingerprints with me as evidence when I found the culprit. Leaving Ms. Nelson's office, I closed the door behind me. Now the hunt was on for someone with orange fingers.
My class was at recess, so I went outside. Passing the basket of softballs we had for recess I picked one up. First, I threw the ball to Ginger. When she threw it back I looked at it and it was clean. Next, I threw the ball to Brittany. When she threw it back it was still clean. Chance yelled at me to throw the ball to him next. I tossed the ball to Chance and he threw it back to me. Looking at the ball I discovered five orange fingerprints.
As my classmates yelled at me I ran back into the building and into Ms. Nelson's office. Taking another piece of tape I lifted the prints off the ball and placed them beneath the fingerprints already on the card. Examining them with my magnifying glass I discovered the two sets of prints were the same. Now that I had the evidence, I went to Ms. Nelson and explained what I had discovered.
With great satisfaction I watched as Chance confessed to his crime.

Congratulations, Sandi!
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