Chapter 11. Double Padlock Security
In the ceiling over Human Resources, Radio Check opened the vent slowly, the old hardware that held it in place had long broken by some service before he arrived. Once he had it opened, it stayed in place, then he used his cap once again for its lifting power.
He looked around before he stepped on the floor of the office of Human Resources, police personnel files were kept in a cabinet in hard copy format. Fingerprints, backgrounds, ID photos.
Everything about a man or woman who worked in the county the HR Department backed up the computer files old-school style.
Under lock and key they existed, with the watchful organization of the obsessive compulsive director of personnel, she was confident in the system she ran. She never trusted the computer system.
Two hasps on a fireproof file cabinet. Each padlock secured with a combination padlock. Different combinations. No one person had access to the sensitive files, she had full confidence in that locked system.
Never slowed down by such things. In the back of each lock was a key access in the event someone forgot the combination.
He had both sides open faster than it would have taken the secretary to dial in the combination on one lock.
Rolling the top drawer open, he flipped through the folders, pulling back on the tabs to read names and ranks.
Each and every paper file on acid free paper, he flipped through them all. Secretary, detective, chief of police, patrol officer.
The files were all here. Two-hundred separate paper documents of combined sheriff, EMS, Fire Department and police. This office served them all, being the county seat and offices that they consolidated several years before. The government centralized and condensed files, every officer, firefighter, paramedic and EMT, undercover, vice, homicide, mayor, secretaries, all from the lowliest janitor to the leaders on the top floor.
Right to this room.
From his backpack, Radio Check pulled out a thermos sized container with a “D” shaped handle on top. With measured movements, he twisted the handle and pumped it four times. Flipping the front of the sprayer down to expose the tip, adjusted it for a medium spray and dampened all the paper in the top drawer.
He repeated the same procedure in each drawer, he moved to the dozen cabinets in turn, in twelve hours, all the paper would crumble into dust. Closing and locking the files as he finished with each drawer. The entire time he checked his timer – Only five minutes passed.
It had been thirty-five minutes since he pulled the triggers on his rifle and, by now, they had discovered he was not in the basement levels. That the officers would think they had driven him out and he somehow got up the stairs without being noticed. They would be looking to alternative exits.
It may have occurred to one of them that the elevator car had a service hatch. The police investigate that thought and if they did so on the basement floor, they would notice that the air return vent would be curiously clean.
It was time to move.
He hooked the toe of his shoe into cap that hung from the cable, he pressed the button for the winch to lift him. The sound was lower pitch, the powerful electric motor was slowing down. The batteries were nearly depleted, but this was its last time it would be needed.
Pulling up into the round vent, he reached down and pulled the ancient vent cover back into place.
And it would not stay! Radio Check swore for the first time in the mission. It kept swinging down, until he figured out that the trick to twist slightly and wedge it in place with a folded bit of newspaper from 1974 of an editorial giving opinions of Nixon’s resignation.
Shaking his head, the irony of it all. An editorial about a crook in the government covering the traces of an intruder on a mission to expose crooks in the government.
It struck him as funny in one of those odd, ironic ways.