It had been a normal day of patrolling for Officer James Roberts of the Modesto Police Department.
And when he got an urgent call of a reported robbery at a Walmart just around the corner from where he was, he sprang into action.
He didn’t know what he was up against, but he was going in with full force.
The Two Suspects
His tires screeched as he finally caught up with the two suspects. But they were not what he had expected.
He ordered them to stop, but they immediately took off running.
Officer Roberts immediately gave chase on foot as he tried to apprehend the suspects. They were going to pay a hefty price for not only the robbery but for evading arrest.
Roger and his sister Rachel had just left their local Walmart store.
They stood outside the store looking at their goods before walking back home.
The siblings had no idea that the pleasant day that they were having would be turned into a nightmare that would leave them traumatized for a long time to come.
Saturday morning was a favorite amongst the siblings.
It was the weekend, and they could finally kick back from a long week at school and do whatever they wanted.
But on this particular day, they knew their mother would be sending them to do some errands for her since she was in bed with a bad cold.
A Big Boy
Roger didn’t mind. At 10 years old, he considered himself a big boy and actually liked it when his mom sent him to shops.
He felt proud that his mom would put such a responsibility on his small shoulders and that she trusted him to do it.
Rachel tagged along only because Roger wasn’t allowed to go alone.
She had written a note for them and had given her credit card with strict instructions. Roger and Rachel’s mother,
Belinda, knew that she could trust her children. They had done small errands for her before, and they were always very careful with her credit card.
Roger had grown into a smart and responsible young boy. Belinda knew that she could count on them.
A Safe Neighborhood
The two siblings set off for the Walmart store just a few blocks from their house.
Belinda waved goodbye to them from the window as she watched them walk hand in hand on the sidewalk.
Their neighborhood was relatively safe, and she knew she had good neighbors that would always look out for each other’s kids. Belinda had no idea that her day was just about to get even worse.
Roger and Rachel eventually made it to Walmart safely and began to shop for the little bit of shopping that their mother had requested.
It wasn’t a lot of items, and soon enough, they were headed to the cashier to pay for the goods.
However, things didn’t quite turn out the way that they should have for the siblings.
The Toy Aisle
While Roger was at the till, Rachel had still been at the toy aisle admiring the dolls and playthings that caught her attention.
She kept looking over at the cashier to see whether Roger was finished paying.
She would then leave the toy aisle. She wanted to use all the time she had memorizing the items she wanted for her birthday. But unbeknownst to the siblings, they were being watched very closely.
Rachel was so fixated on one particular doll that she hadn’t even heard Roger calling out to her when he was finished paying for the items they had purchased.
“Coming, Roger!” she shouted across the store. Then, she got up and walked out of the store.
The siblings then checked if they had everything and made their way back home.
But not all was well. They were not aware that they were being watched by a few people.
Roger held his sister’s hand as they walked through the streets of their neighborhood.
But before they were just a few blocks away from their house, a police officer yelled at them. “Hey, you two kids, hold it right there, don’t move!” But Roger panicked and pulled his sister with him as they made a run for it.
They ran as fast as their little legs could carry them, but they were no match for the police officer that was chasing them. They had just turned a corner, and then he was right there in front of them.
“Stop running!” he shouted at them. Roger and Rachel stood like two deer caught in headlights.
They felt like they were in trouble for something, but they just didn’t know what it was.
Officer Roberts gave them a stern look. “I want to know why the two of you started running,” he said to them.
By this time, Roger and his sister were shivering with fear, but Roger, ever the brave big brother, wanted to speak up.
“We were scared. We didn’t know why you told us to stop,” Roger said, holding back tears.
Tell The Truth
“Do you know why I stopped the two of you? Were you just at that Walmart store?” Officer Roberts asked them.
Roger, trying to conceal the look of guilt on his face, was thinking of a way to get out of the situation.
But he remembered his parents’ advice. When a police officer talks to you, always be polite and tell the truth, no matter what. So that’s what Roger decided to do.
“Um, yes, Officer, Sir. We were just at Walmart. Our Mom is sick and…” But before Roger could say anything further, Officer Roberts interrupted him.
“Well, the manager at the store had reported the two of you to the police for stealing.
Now both of you turn around and put your hands behind your backs.”
We Didn’t Do It
But Roger wanted to get a word in before the police officer cuffed them. “But, Sir, we didn’t do anything wrong. I’m only 10 years old, and my sister here is 8 years old. We didn’t do anything,” Roger pleaded.
But his pleas fell on deaf ears. Officer Roberts had to do his job. Besides, the two children fit the profile.
A young boy and girl walking north towards Oak Street carrying a shopping bag with stolen goods inside. He was just following the orders of his superiors.
He cuffed the children and proceeded to put them in the back of his squad car. Rachel couldn’t help but cry.
She didn’t understand what was happening. She just wanted to go home.
Roger tried to console his little sister, but it was no use. He couldn’t do much with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Inside the Squad Car
As Officer Roberts closed the car doors, he felt a pang of guilt.
He looked at the tear-streaked faces of the two children in his rearview mirror.
He knew that his actions were causing them fear and distress, but he was convinced that he was doing the right thing based on the information he had received.
Feeling Like Criminals
The drive to the police station was tense. Roger and Rachel sat in the backseat, still handcuffed, feeling like criminals.
They tried to convince Officer Roberts that they were innocent, but the officer wasn’t buying it.
They exchanged worried glances and whispered to each other, trying to offer comfort in the midst of their confusion.
At the police station, the siblings were led into a small interrogation room.
Officer Roberts uncuffed them and left them sitting there, feeling even more anxious. A detective entered the room, introduced himself as Detective Anderson, and began questioning them about the alleged theft.
Roger and Rachel were scared but determined to tell the truth. They held onto each other, hoping the police officers would see how scared they really were.
They explained how they had gone to Walmart to buy items for their sick mother and how Rachel had briefly admired a doll in the toy aisle.
They reiterated that they hadn’t stolen anything and had no idea why they were being accused.
Detective Anderson listened attentively, then left the room to review the evidence and talk to the store manager.
After what felt like an eternity, Detective Anderson returned to the room with a grave expression.
He informed the siblings that security footage had confirmed their guilt.
The store had evidence that showed that while Roger was at the till paying for the goods, Rachel could be seen lagging behind in the toy aisle. Rachel’s eyes grew wide with fear.
I Didn’t Do It
“But I didn’t take anything, I swear,” Rachel cried in defense.
But Detective Anderson had seen the footage himself and saw how she lingered for way too long in the aisle as if she was stalling for time.
“Miss, I saw the footage, and it clearly shows you looking around you as you were trying to see who was watching you before you took something,” Detective Anderson said.
A Heart-Wrenching Decision
Roger’s heart sank as he realized the situation was turning against them. He knew that Rachel hadn’t intended to steal anything, but the evidence seemed to tell a different story.
Desperation filled the room as the siblings tried to explain the misunderstanding, their voices quivering with fear and confusion.
Detective Anderson seemed torn, his stern exterior showing a glimmer of empathy, but he was bound by his duty to uphold the law.
As the interrogation continued, Officer Roberts stood by the doorway, silently observing.
He couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was off about the situation, but he also knew that he had to trust the evidence.
But at the back of his mind, he knew that there must be some kind of explanation for it all.
A Twist in the Tale
Just when it seemed like the siblings were about to face the consequences of a crime they didn’t commit, a phone call disrupted the tense atmosphere.
Detective Anderson excused himself and answered the call, his face shifting from seriousness to surprise.
After a brief conversation, he hung up and turned back to Roger and Rachel. “There seems to be new information that has come to light,” he announced, a hint of uncertainty in his voice.
More Bad News
“It seems like the two of you were purchasing goods on someone’s credit card. Is that true?” asked Detective Anderson.
Roger’s face contorted in confusion.
“No, Officer. That’s our Mom’s credit card. She gave it to us this morning so that we could buy the stuff on the shopping list,” cried Roger. But would the police officers believe them?
Do You Have Proof?
“Do you have proof that it is indeed your mother’s credit card, young man?” Detective Anderson asked.
By now, Roger didn’t know what else he could say to convince them of their innocence.
It was like the manager at Walmart and the police had just believed that they were guilty of something they didn’t do, no matter how much they argued that they weren’t.
“I don’t know how to prove it. All I know is that my Mom gave the card to me this morning with a shopping list,” Roger said, hoping that this time they would understand.
“Okay, can I see the shopping list then?” the detective said.
As both Roger and Rachel searched their pockets for the list, they realized that the list must have fallen out of his pocket when they were running.
The siblings didn’t know how they were going to get out of the sticky situation that they were in.
Rachel clung to her brother, saying that she wanted to go home. But Officer Roberts was watching, and he wanted to help.
He decided to go back to the scene of the crime and see if he could piece together what happened so that the siblings could be freed. Would he be able to help them?
Disclaimer: In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.