The rest of the day was productive. Loss Prevention picked up one hundred forty suspects throughout the morning, afternoon and evening. Sixty-two were turned over to the police, while seventy-eight signed the stipulation and left the store forever. Doreen offered her special deal to three more, all of whom were young African American males.
At 10:45 p.m. Doreen was walking a circuit through the jewelry department when her cell phone rang. Looking down, she saw that it was Mr. Rowley, the store manager.
“Doreen Timmons,” she answered. “What can I do for you, Mr. Rowley?”
“Doreen, I need to see you in my office.”
“The store closes in fifteen minutes. I’ll be up as soon as the doors are all locked.”
“Come up now, Doreen. This can’t wait.”
“Yes, sir, I’ll be right there.”
Doreen took the employee elevator to the third floor. She exited the car and headed for the administrative offices on the far side of the store. Haley–Mr. Rowley’s executive assistant–clocked out hours ago, so no one greeted her when she entered the administrative suite. Instead, a voice called from Mr. Rowley’s office at the end of the hallway.
“We’re back here, Doreen. Come on in.”
Doreen stepped through the doorway and found Mr. Rowley seated in a padded chair behind his heavy desk. An African American gentleman in a dark suit and tie sat in the chair opposite Mr. Rowley. He appeared to be in his mid-forties, tall, well-groomed, and physically fit. His camel hair outer coat was folded in half on his lap, and a black leather brief case sat on the floor next to his chair.
Both men stood when Doreen entered the office.
“Mr. Rick, this is my loss prevention supervisor, Ms. Doreen Timmons,” Mr. Rowley said. “Doreen, this is Mr. John Rick.”
“Pleased to meet you, Ms. Timmons.” Mr. Rick reached for Doreen’s hand.
“Thank you,” Doreen responded as she offered her hand to Mr. Rick. “And likewise.”
“Have a seat, Doreen,” Mr. Rowley said. “Mr. Rick is a prominent attorney. Have you heard of him before? Seen his name or face on television?”
“No, I’m sorry,” Doreen looked from Mr. Rowley to Mr. Rick. “Should I have heard of you?”
“Ms. Timmons, I’m a civil rights attorney,” Mr. Rick said. “My practice is limited to representing persons harmed by violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other similar statutes. In recent years I have made it my business to address unlawful racial profiling by law enforcement, government, and retail establishments.”
“OK.” Doreen fidgeted in her chair. “Why are you telling this to me?”
“Mr. Rick had some concerns regarding the treatment of his nephew this morning.” Mr. Rowley took off his glasses and stared at Doreen. “I looked into the computer, but couldn’t
find his name anywhere in the security files.”
“We apprehended and processed approximately one hundred forty people today,” Doreen answered. “What is his name?”
“Jamal Cruz,” Mr. Rick answered.
Doreen’s eyes bulged and the color drained from her face.
“I’m sorry, that name doesn’t ring a bell.”
“Are you sure, Ms. Timmons?” Mr. Rick asked. “He’s about six foot one, one hundred eighty pounds, dark complexion? He said he was in the store from about 9:00 a.m. until almost noon.”
“No, I’m afraid I don’t recall seeing him.”
“Perhaps if we looked over the footage from your security cameras?” Mr. Rick asked.
“Possibly,” Doreen answered. “I can review the footage in the morning and let you know what I find.”
“Ms. Timmons, I took the time to drive over here this evening rather than return home frm my office. I would like to resolve this matter tonight.”
“Mr. Rick,” Doreen said. “There are over fifty cameras in the store. We have hundreds of hours of surveillance video just from this morning. It’s going to take some time to go through all of it. I promise you that I will address this matter first thing tomorrow morning and respond to you before the end of the day.”
“Will it help you if I narrow the times he was in the store and specify the departments where he shopped?”
“Doreen,” Mr. Rowley interrupted. “Please take Mr. Rick over to the Nest and review the footage with him. Come and see me when you have this matter all sorted out.”
“Mr. Rowley, this could take hours. Why don’t you go home and I’ll bring you up to speed in the morning?”
“I’ll wait, Doreen. I’m not leaving until this matter is resolved. Even if it takes all night, I’ll be here.”
“Very well. Come with me, Mr. Rick.”
Doreen stood up and exited Mr. Rowley’s office. Mr. Rick followed her, walking a step behind the chunky blonde.
“How long have you been in loss prevention?” Mr. Rick asked.
“Over twenty years. Why?”