Robyn raised from her crouch behind the black SUV and made her way towards the front door, she glanced back to ensure nobody was watching. She kneeled at the ‘Home Sweet Home’ mat and retrieved a key from beneath it just as the teenage boy had done earlier that day, and let herself in. Straight to the kitchen, she took the brown rucksack from her back as she walked, and quietly, she opened the fridge. Robyn filled her rucksack with cooked meats, some cheeses and cans of pop. ‘Score’ she thought as she spied the ready-made lunches and bagged them too. She moved on to the cupboards and took cans of beans, tinned fruit, cereal bars and an unopened loaf of bread.
After she’d packed her bag to the brim with food, Robyn fastened it and sauntered into the living room, scouting for lightweight items she could carry. She picked up the plaid fleece blanket from the back of the sofa and fastened it to the strap of her bag. There wasn’t much she could take from this room so she made her way up the stairs cautiously.
She opened the first door she came to and peered inside at the sleeping teenage boy. He snored loudly and rolled over as she entered, she went to his closet and opened it up and saw the young man had an excessive amount of plain white shirts; surely he didn’t need all of them.
Robyn removed a creased blue shopping bag from her pocket and swiftly removed the shirts from their hangers. She didn’t pause as she stuffed them into the bag. She moved onto the parent’s room next, she bagged a few men’s shirts, women’s jeans and a mix of pyjamas. Curiosity got the better of her when she spied a closet door. It was entirely dedicated to stacks of shoes with a selection of empty bags at the bottom. She grabbed an empty Puma gym bag from the floor and placed several pairs of shoes inside.
Robyn was pleased with her loot, she left the house in its original state minus inessentials before she let herself out. She placed the key back under the mat and hurried off down the drive way. At the end of the street, she stopped a small bashed up van and made her way towards it; her crew were already waiting with the door open for her. Tucker started up the engine as she ran towards the awaiting door and pulled out as soon as she’d slipped in. The crew was silent as they perched in the back of the van, Robyn barely noticed the time go by as they made their way to the shelter. They climbed out of the van one by one and carried their stash to the arches where a gathering of homeless people waited. Robyn and the others handed out goods to grateful individuals, making sure it was shared equally among them. It had been another good night and Robyn felt no remorse. Those rich families would get over it; they wouldn’t miss a thing.
Or so she had led herself to believe.
Robyn shifted in the plastic chair she’d been ordered to sit in. Then they had left her alone to squirm. Despite the life of thievery throughout the past three years, she had never stopped to consider that she might be caught. Loot Nights had been routine, they got easier with each job; perhaps she’d gotten careless. That had to be it, she figured.
The young girl looked sharp as the door opened, a suit walked in holding a paper file. Robyn pressed her lips together. Though she wasn’t sure what to expect, she could tell that this man had money, and men like that don’t care for any moral reasoning when something of theirs has been taken. He sat down and placed the folder in front of him, and then he retrieved a nifty sound recorder from his blazer jacket. He refused to look at her until a pen was firmly in his hand.
‘I am recording this interview. The date is 17 08 2016,’ he said for the sake of the recorder, he paused for a second as he scrutinized her. ‘I am Detective John Little. Please state your full name.’ It took several seconds before Robyn realised she had to speak.
‘Miss Hood, where were you in the late hours of Wednesday night?’ He asked, prepared to take notes. Robyn regarded him silently and glanced at the sound recorder. She had no alibi. Her loot crew had never thought to school any of them for when such an occasion would arise. She had to say something. She swallowed.
‘I was at home,’ she lied.
‘Is that so?’ Detective Little asked, he didn’t believe her. Robyn surveyed the rest of the room. She wondered if she should have a lawyer present, it was obvious that the Detective didn’t hold her in his favour. ‘You were spotted on CCTV that night, running towards a van parked at the end of Nottingham Road.’
‘I went for a walk,’ Robyn said immediately, she rubbed her legs beneath the table. ‘My friend called, he said he was nearby and asked if I wanted a ride home.’ Robyn had never been a good liar and she prayed that for her sake, her voice sounded more convincing to him.
‘You live on May King Court, is that correct?’
‘Yes.’ Robyn nodded.
‘How long did it take you to walk to Nottingham Road?’
Robyn offered a stiff shrug. She had no idea how long it took to walk there from her house.
‘An hour,’ she told him, Robyn bit her lower lip as she watched Detective Little blow air out through his slightly parted lips.
‘So you decided to go for an hour walk to Nottingham Road in the middle of the night, is that correct?’
‘Please answer for the recording,’ he told her, a brief look of irritation crossed his face.
The Detective rolled his shoulders and raised his eyebrows while he waited for her answer. Robyn was at a loss for words, again. She pressed her dry tongue to the pallet of her mouth. Whatever she said had to be believable but she had never found reason to do such a walk before, especially not at that time.
‘I couldn’t sleep,’ she said, she cleared her throat and shifted in her chair, this caused the Detective to wince as the chair scraped the floor. ‘I needed some air too, it’s been a stressful week.’
‘You know,’ she muttered, ‘money has been tight and I haven’t found any work.’ The latter part was true, although she was sure she had to be actively looking for a job for that to affect her.
‘You friend, the one that called. He’s the owner of the van?’
‘I think so,’ Robyn replied, she was unsure. Tucker had never barely spoken to her in the past, he had an unfriendly manner about his despite his past time of aiding the poor.
‘What’s he called?’
‘Is that a first name or a last name?’
‘And his last name is?’
Robyn pressed her lips tightly together.
‘I don’t know,’ she confessed. ‘I never asked.’
Detective Little shook his head as he continued to write notes. Robyn watched, trying to make sense of the upside down words.
‘On the CCTV footage, you are seen carrying a rucksack and a sports bag,’ he told her, his eyebrows raised in anticipation of her next lie. Robyn sucked in a breath through her nose and tried her best to sit back and look relaxed.
‘Was there a question?’
The Detective showed a defined frown at her cheekiness. He placed his pen down and folded his fingers together on top of the folder.
‘Do you often take a lot of your belongings with you when you go for a walk?’
‘No,’ Robyn said. ‘I found those on the side of the road.’
Detective Little snorted.
‘And so you just decided to take them with you, is that right?’
Robyn knew by the tone of his voice that it was definitely now she should bring up her request. She shouldn’t have lied in the first place, it was obvious the game was over and that she should have fessed up.
‘I’d like a lawyer,’ she stated.
‘Is that so?’
Robyn folded her arms and stared at the table, an ashamed frown stretched across her lips. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Everything she had taken was with good intentions. Doesn’t that count for anything?