Stella Boswell appeared at the Brown Detective Agency saying that an older boy tried to steal a rusty can filled with flowers that she had been carrying. She didn’t have twenty-five cents, so she paid with the only money she had – a Confederate silver half-dollar from 1861 that she found in the flower can.
This girl has already proven herself to be an idiot. Even if she didn’t understand what the word “Confederate” meant or why the fact that the coin was from 1861 would be of any significance to its value, it says right there that it’s a half-dollar. If she was under the assumption that it was a regular half-dollar, then why did she say that she didn’t have twenty-five cents? “Oh no, I don’t have a quarter, but I have this half-dollar.”
Stella had been picking some wild flowers when the boy accidentally ran into her on the sidewalk. A paper bag he was holding burst open, leaving coins everywhere. He tried to pick up as many as he could, but he ran away when a car passed by. As she was telling the story, she figured out that the boy wasn’t trying to steal her flowers, but was just trying to get the coin that had fallen into her can back. Encyclopedia figured something was afoot.
He called his father at the police station, and sure enough, a coin collection had been reported stolen. When Encyclopedia told his father that he thought he had a way of trapping the thief. Chief Brown thanked Encyclopedia, but he told his young son that he should really let his force of professionally trained police officers handle it as it was a police matter at that point.
No, I’m just kidding. Chief Brown heard Encyclopedia’s plan and decided it warranted use of city resources and put two officers on the case.
I should note that Chief Brown referred to the two officers as “Officer Hall and Policewoman Taylor.” The great thing about the title of “officer” is that it’s gender neutral. Yet, for some reason, Chief Brown didn’t it use it to refer to his female officers. Because Idaville is sexist.
Encyclopedia’s plan was overly complicated and pretty stupid. It involved Encyclopedia and Stella staking out at Stella’s house. Officer Hall would be selling tickets to the police ball door to door and Lady Cop Taylor would be at Stella’s house, disguised as the Boswell family’s maid. Because Idaville is sexist.
While they were waiting for the thief to appear, Encyclopedia was looking over his own coin collection – with the Confederate half-dollar in the mix – and Stella was baking some cookies. Because Idaville is sexist.
Five minutes after Officer Hall turned the corner and was out of sight, someone knocked on the door. It was Bret, who was selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Stella invited him in and explained that she was baking. Encyclopedia engaged Bret in a conversation about coin collecting and Stella piped in about how she found a weird coin earlier that day.
Bret became interested and Stella mentioned that the coin was hiding in the flower can. Bret went for the can of flowers and that’s when Officer-With-A-Vagina Taylor cuffed Bret.
How did they know it was him? Because, in theory, anyone watching someone baking would think that Stella was referring to a flour can, not a flower can.
I kind of have to disagree. Yes, most people would have “flour” on the mind, but why Bret think someone would hide a coin in flour? Coins are filthy. Who would hide a germ-covered century-old coin in a food product? I don’t think it is at all unreasonable for Bret to go for a flower can in this case.
But what makes even less sense is why Bret showed up anyway. It turned out that Bret was using this magazine sales gig as a cover. He would see which houses were empty and burglarize those homes. But no one knew that. No one had any reason to believe that the thief would be knocking on Stella’s door. And having Officer Hall leave the block had absolutely nothing to do with anything. Did they think the thief would appear anywhere the officer wasn’t? That’s not physically possible. And if that was the case, why bother having Officer Hall selling tickets anyway?
This sting operation was a horrible plan in every way imaginable from the get-go, and for reasons that make absolutely no sense, it ended up working. That means that the next time Chief Brown’s son comes up with some stupid plan to catch a thief, the Idaville PD will be more likely to use it because it worked that one time.