The following is the follow-up to last week’s article, A Thief at Scout Camp.Â

Scout camp was going pretty much as usual. Gordy had had an Oreo cookie stolen, and he was sure someone was taking his candy, too. He was determined to find a way to catch the bandit. That was when I suggested that he paint the candy wrappers with red paint acquired from the leather-working merit badge station. And that was exactly what he did, just before he left the next morning to work on merit badges.

I was around camp most of the morning and saw nothing unusual, but, when everyone returned for lunch, Gordyâ€™s painted candies were missing. He demanded everyone show him their hands, but the only person with any paint on himself was Gordy from his sloppy paint job. He couldnâ€™t try this technique again since everyone now knew what he had done. But it didnâ€™t matter to him, because, in his mind, everyone was guilty, and he wasnâ€™t reluctant about saying so.

â€śOkay, Gordy,â€ť I said, â€ścalm down, and letâ€™s try to analyze this.â€ť

â€śThatâ€™s stupid,â€ť he replied. â€śJust because youâ€™re a math professor doesnâ€™t mean you can solve something like this by logic.â€ť

â€śNo,â€ť I said, â€śbut sometimes the answers are different from what a person may think. And, often, they are right in front of a personâ€™s face.â€ť

â€śAnd if it is Gordyâ€™s face,â€ť Devin said, â€śthen it could be a really ugly answer.â€ť

â€śHa, ha,â€ť Gordy replied. â€śThousands of comedians out of work and I get stuck with you.â€ť

â€śLetâ€™s consider some things,â€ť I said. â€śGordy, did you zip your tent shut when you left?â€ť

â€śOf course.â€ť

â€śWas it still shut when you came back?â€ť

â€śAlmost,â€ť he replied. â€śThe zipper was up about four or five inches.â€ť

â€śWas it the same way last time when you lost the Oreo?â€ť

â€śYes.â€ť

â€śIf a thief wanted to remain unsuspected,â€ť I said, â€śIâ€™m sure that he would have tried to leave things exactly the same.â€ť

â€śSo why only leave it up four to five inches?â€ť Tanner asked.

I thought about it for a minute as the whole troop stared at me, acting like I was going to get some kind of revelation or something. And then, suddenly, I did get one. I smiled as the answer began to come to me. â€śMaybe it was up only four or five inches because that was all the thief needed,â€ť I said.

â€śThatâ€™s stupid,â€ť Gordy said. â€śObviously he couldnâ€™t crawl in that hole. And I put the candy at the far back of the tent so he couldnâ€™t reach his arm in and grab it.â€ť

I smiled, and that seemed to build the suspense and curiosity for everyone. â€śGordy, were there any other signs or anything?â€ť I asked.

â€śWell, the thief dripped a little paint in the tent,â€ť Gordy replied.

Everyone followed as I went to look at the evidence. Upon inspection, I shook my head. â€śThatâ€™s not dripped paint.â€ť

â€śWhat is it?â€ť Mort asked.

Instead of answering, I scanned the trees. The boys looked up, trying to see what I was looking for. Finally, I saw it. I smiled as I answered them. â€śIt wasnâ€™t dripped paint; it was footprints.â€ť

â€śFootprints?â€ť Gordy questioned.

I had seen a squirrel often watching us. But now, its paws and whole underbelly were red. I pointed at it. â€śThereâ€™s your thief.â€ť

Gordy looked up and saw the red paint on the squirrel. He walked over to the tree, and sure enough, the ground was littered with candy wrappers. He shook his fist at it. â€śYou dirty little thief!â€ť

The squirrel shook his fist back and shouted â€śChi, chi, chi!â€ť

â€śYou little beggar!â€ť Gordy yelled. He picked up a stick and threw it up at the squirrel. The stick came right back and hit Gordy on his foot. He started jumping around and hollering.

â€śSquirrel 10, Gordy 0,â€ť Devin said.

And, thus, was solved the case of the scout camp bandit.