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            “What the hell is that thing?” Porky whispered.

            “RF sniffer.  You gotta get a little closer to the cop car, Tony.”

            Tony followed the black and white into the parking lot at Mel’s and parked four slots away, cool as ice.  The cops got out .  Matt turned the sniffer on and captured what he could as the driver hit the door-lock button on his car remote.

            “Got it?” Porky said.    

            “I dunno.  Maybe,” Matt said.  “It’s just something I made out of parts from Radio Shack.”

            “He got it.”  Tony grinned.  “My cousin, the genius.”

            Matt shook his head, pleased.  Three days after Tony took him in he’d come up with a plan to pay his way. 

            Step 1:  build a spam-bot to send mail to one hundred thousand addresses using an anonymous IP. 

            Step 2:  store the addresses that auto-respond with an “Out Of Office” message. 

            Step 3:  of those, grab the six people stupid enough to include their home phone numbers in the response. 

            Step 4:  Reverse directory look-up the home addresses:  bingo.  Six houses guaranteed to be empty if you wanted to go by and pick up a little swag. 

            He made them promise only to take stuff from the ranch-style with the Lexus out front and the bungalow with the Mercedes.  Tony left a note under the Mercedes’ windshield wiper, “Buy American:  Keep Jobs in the USA.” 

            Right now, Matt was sort of the golden boy.

            “Cops are in the diner,” Tony said.

            “It might not work,” Matt said.

            “Let’s find out.”

            One of Tony’s couriers called to say he was getting pulled over for doing 120 in a 60 zone.  Matt made him keep his cell phone open and use it like a mic, loitering around the cop car so they could pick up any radio chatter.  His lucky streak held and they got the arresting officers’ car number.  Then it was using the police-band radio scanner, playing a game of blind-man’s bluff through the night streets until the cops were nice enough to tell Dispatch they were stopping at Mel’s for a cup of coffee.

            “They’re sitting down,” Porky said.  “They got menus.” 

            “Let’s go,” Tony said.  He walked over to the cop car.  Matt fed the data from the sniffer into the RF emitter and followed him.  This he hadn’t had to build from scratch.  He’d been spoofing remotes since he was twelve; the emitter was something he carried all the time, like a Swiss Army knife.

            Matt was at the cop car.  His heart was going 200 beats a minute.

            “Act natural,” Tony said.  “Act like you belong.”  He paused as if trying to make out the motto on the side of the car.

            Matt cycled the emitter.  The locks popped up and he yelped with surprise.  Un-freaking-believable.

            Tony was already in the front seat.  “I got the camera.”  He popped it open and took out the tape.  “Give me the other one.”

            “Hey guys, I think they see us,” Porky said.

            “Give me the tape, Matt!”

            Matt passed over the replacement tape.  This should cover days worth of cop-stops; no way he was making the same mistake as with the phone hack and erasing only one.  His hand was shaking, bad.

            “Cop’s getting up from the table,” Porky said.  He shambled quickly back to their car.

            Tony snapped the replacement tape home.  “Let’s go,” he said.  Crisp, now.  Matt  relocked the cop car and trotted back to where Porky was parked.  Porky had the engine running.  The door of Mel’s swung open to show a fat white cop in silhouette.  Tony sauntered over to their car.  “Slow!” he hissed at Matt.  “Like you belong.”

            Porky backed sedately out of the parking spot.  The cop in the doorway squinted at the license plate Matt had daubed with mud an hour ago.  Porky drove out of the lot.  Matt’s heart was pounding and pounding.  He was grinning like an idiot.  He could have walked on air.  “That’s a hack,” he said.

            Tony twisted around in the front seat and grinned back at him.  “Stick with me, kid,” he said.  “I’ll make you a star.”

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