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The Barbecue Thief
Mysteries by Kids 9: June 1999
by Starike

Usually we were glad to see the beginning of summer, but this time something was wrong. Instead of barbecues we were going to have to find a thief-- because my dad's barbecue grill was gone!
First, let me tell you who I am. My name's Jennifer Cooper. I have a sister, who is always sweet and who is seven years old, and a brother, who is a creep and sixteen years old, and a dog and two parents. It started on the first day of June. We were kind of bored, so Dad thought we should have a barbecue. At first I thought it would be fun. Wow, was I wrong!
The next day, Dad got a brand new barbecue grill because our old one was rusty and broke. Then he said that they would have a party the second week of June. I couldn't wait.
On Sunday, after church, my mom and me went to the market shopping for barbecue sauce and chicken and steak for the barbecue. When we came back, there were two police cars at our door. Of course, Mom was worried. She ran into the house and I followed after her.
"Dad," I said. "What's wrong?"
"The grill," he said. "It's been stolen!" "Really?" That was unbelievable.
"Really." Dad looked like he was going to break down any minute. What really bothered me is how someone could've come into my family's house and stolen something. I was very mad. In fact, I was furious. Then I thought, why should I sit around being mad? I should do something about the robbery.
The next day, I called one of my best friends to discuss what had happened. I told her I planned to find the robber and I needed her help. My dad had said he was gone for like only a few minutes, so the robber must be around where we lived.
We went burglar-hunting the next day. We went to dozens and dozens of houses and the only thing we learned was that Harry Truman, Ricky Dee, and Thomas Madison all had new barbecue grills identical to my dad's. First we went to Harry's house. Harry Truman lived right next door to my family so he a main suspect.
When we got to Harry's house, his sister told us he was upstairs. Harry's room was a total mess. Papers and clothes were everywhere. Harry was sitting there watching t.v.
"Hi guys," he said.
"Hi," me and Sarah, my best friend, said. I asked him if he knew about the robbery at my house.
"Yeah. It was on news. I wish I could be on t.v. like you. You're lucky."
"Maybe. Kim Hills told me you got a new barbecue grill." "Yeah. Why are you asking? You don't think I stole yours, do you?"
"I didn't say that," I said. "I was only asking." "Well, for your information," Harry said haughtily, "when you were robbed, I was at a swimming lesson."
"How do you know when I was robbed?" I asked. "It said on the news. Now, can I watch this show in peace?" Harry turned back to the show.
The next stop was Ricky's house. Ricky was reading a book. "Sorry to disturb you," I said. "I just want to ask you a few questions."
"Don't. Harry just called. He said you were coming. I didn't steal your brand new grill, okay? I was at a friend's house. Now just go investigate some other house."
"Fine," I said. Then Sarah and I went downstairs. I told Sarah to wait for me outside. I went inside Ricky's garage. After a lot of looking around I found what I wanted. My father's grill!
"Oh, Ricky!" I called.
Ricky came into the garage. "What--" He saw what I was holding.
"So, you took it," I said.
Ricky broke down and confessed. I called my father and when he came he decided not to press charges. He just scolded Ricky.
When I got home, Sarah asked me how I knew. "Well, Ricky said he didn't steal my brand new grill. How did he know it was brand new? I know it didn't say it on the news. Then pieces fitted together. Ricky loves barbecues. But his parents didn't want to buy a grill. So he stole my dad's."
The next day we had our barbecue. Ricky would have come, but he was grounded.
As I was eating I was thinking I had solved the case, not the police. Maybe I should become a detective someday.

Congratulations, Starike !
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