THE STORY SO FAR
Bud convinces Mark to go undercover at a trucking firm to see if he can help stop cargo thefts from the company.
Mark is hired by Chenai Trucking and shows up to take on his first load for the company.
He makes it known he’s in need of money and is soon approached by a driver with instructions on how and where to leave his truck so it can be stolen…
The next day Mark was at the Chenai offices for a morning appointment with Sunny to inform him of what had happened and to figure out a plan on how to catch these thieves and put an end to the thefts to the company’s cargo.
“So they basically want me to park my truck in a spot that’s out of the way, but still easily accessible, and then go for a nice long dinner so they can steal either the truck or the contents of the trailer.”
“Did you get a name?”
“He said it was Suki.”
“What’s so funny?”
“Is Suki short for Suhkjit or Suhkwinder?”
“How the hell should I know?”
“We have four Suhkjits and three Suhkwinders driving for our company. And everyone who works here has a cousin or two with one or both of those names.”
“If that was his real name,” Mark said.
“Exactly,” Sunny said. But then his face brightened. “But at least we know what their plan is. We’ll install a GPS on the truck so we’ll be able to know where it is at all times. It will give the police some information they can really use. Hopefully we’ll catch the whole truck theft ring, not just the guys who are stealing the cargo.”
“Sounds great,” Mark said. He had a good feeling about this whole operation. The time and place where the truck would be stolen was pretty straightforward and once the truck was taken it would be a fairly simple matter of the police catching up to the thieves and making the arrests.
A couple of hours later Mark drove to a warehouse in the west end of Toronto and picked up a trailer filled with electronics. It was all high-end stuff and the value of the entire load was well over $100,000 retail.
As Mark connected Mother Load to the trailer he thought about why the thieves had targeted this load specifically. First of all it had a lot of value. There was no way they could get full retail for the merchandise, but even if they got half the wholesale value they’d still be in line to make an easy $25,000 by dumping the goods at liquidation stores and weekend flea market vendors. That was a lot of money for very little work, especially when you consider that even if someone was caught stealing the cargo, they would only be charged with Theft Over $5,000 which carried very light jail terms when compared to comparable crimes like robberies.
Once Mark had the trailer hooked up and ready to go, he did one last walk around to make sure everything was secure. He was still making a delivery after all and Mark had a reputation for delivering the goods on time and in good condition. Why should this load be any different?
They wanted Mark to leave the truck parked in a dark corner of a yard on Dixie Road north of Britannia in Mississauga. The yard itself was like a half-dozen other yards along Dixie with a dirt/gravel surface that was full of craters and divots and was only serving as a truck yard until the owner could sell it off to someone with the money to development it into rows of industrial units or a warehouse.
When Mark had the truck parked, he used his cell phone to check the location of the restaurant they’d told him to have dinner at. Tandoori Sweets was an Indian restaurant less than a half kilometre from the yard. It was a short walk out to Dixie Road and then just a couple of minutes north to a restaurant set in an industrial unit on the east side of the street.
The smell of curry and masala that hit Mark when he entered suggested he was in for a real gastronomic treat. Mark didn’t know what anything on the menu was, but he avoided any embarrassment by ordering a “Number 2” and hoping for the best. He wasn’t disappointed as everything was just right, spicy but not too hot, and the portion just the right size to feel he was getting his money’s worth.
As he dug in, Mark took a look around the restaurant. It was obviously a favourite spot for truck drivers in this part of the city as each table seemed to be taken up by men who spent much of their working lives sitting behind the wheel of a truck. They also appeared to be keeping a close eye on Mark. Obviously, he stood out in this crowd, but it was more than that. All during his meal, Mark couldn’t help but think that at least one or more of these men were in on the theft tonight and keeping an eye on him to make sure he stayed away from his truck for the proper length of time.
When Mark finished eating, he checked his watch. He’d already been there for the required amount of time, but he decided to stay for another ten minutes just to be sure.
Finally, he left the restaurant and headed back toward the truck yard.
Minutes later he was in the yard. As he neared the dark corner where his truck had been parked an uneasy feeling began to creep into his stomach…a feeling that had nothing to do with the spicy dinner he’d just enjoyed.
Then, when he was close enough for it all to fall into place, Mark’s jaw dropped and his stomach suddenly felt as if it had been kicked by a black belt.
The trailer was still in place, untouched. However, Mother Load was gone.
As Mark stood there, trying to figure out how this whole thing had gone so wrong, a silver four-door car – an unmarked police car – pulled into the lot and came to a stop by his side.
The driver’s side window rolled down and the police officer behind the wheel said, “Hey, what’s going on?”
“That’s what I’d like to know,” Mark said, barely able to keep the anger from his voice. “My truck just got stolen. Where the hell were you guys?”
“We were just getting something to eat,” said the cop behind the wheel. “From what we were told, the truck wouldn’t be stolen for at least another half hour.”
Mark couldn’t help but laugh under his breath. Whoever the thieves were, they’d played both him and the police. No wonder they haven’t been caught yet.
Along with the two police officers, Mark walked around to the back of the trailer to check the load. Surprisingly, the seal was still on the trailer, whole. He decided to open the trailer to see what was inside.
After breaking the seal, Mark unlocked one of the big barn doors and slowly pulled it open.
Inside, there was nothing.
The trailer was empty.
That meant that whoever was supposed to steal the trailer knew it was empty and took Mother Load instead. Obviously, this was more of an inside job than anyone thought.
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