She nodded vigorously. “Oh yes! Ever since the second time we both check it as soon as we get up. Nothing is touched when Paul leaves for work, but it’s gone by the time I get up.”
“So the theft occurs sometime between five-thirty and seven in the morning.”
“Not likely to be young kids at that hour,” Bertie said.
“No,” Harry agreed. “And most teenagers aren’t out and about that early either. If they’re up, they’re getting ready for school.”
“So all you have to do is park on the street and keep a lookout early in the morning,” Bertie said.
Harry shook his head. “Won’t work. A strange truck on the street would look suspicious and most likely scare the thief away.”
“Our next-door neighbour, Hank Steele, has a double driveway. I’m sure you could park there.”
“That would work.”
“So when you see the thief with the hay you can just grab him.”
“Or her,” Harry added. “But I want to know why the person is stealing hay. So I’ll follow him – or her – and find out.” He turned to face Mrs. Walters. “Check with your neighbour and if he agrees I will be there tomorrow morning, before your husband leaves for work.”
Mrs. Walters got to her feet. “It will be nice to put an end to this. It’s getting so I dread picking up new hay. Some of the staff members are beginning to look at me strangely, like they think I have a screw loose or something.”
“I’m sure that’s not the case, Mrs. Walters. They probably just think that you’re adding to your display, perhaps wondering how big it will be,” Harry said. “We will see what we can find out.”
“Thank you, Mr. Hogan. I will leave it in your hands.” She gave a little nod, then turned and walked out the door.
“Or they might be wondering if she’s building a straw house for the first little pig and wondering when she’s going to start on the brick one,” Bertie said softly as they watched her leave.
“Shame on you, Bertie.” Harry shook his head and tried to keep from smiling. “It must make them wonder though, an older lady coming in every day to buy these little blocks of hay.”
“Maybe they think she’s substituting it for shredded wheat cereal,” Bertie quipped. “You won’t need my help with this so I’m off to run my errands.”
Just over an hour later, Mrs. Walters called to tell Harry that he could park in Hank’s driveway. Hank would make sure to leave plenty of space for him. Harry thanked her and said he would be around in the morning.