The case of the stolen trophy, part one

Having previously been trained up as special agents, it was only a matter of time before the Year 3 and 4 pupils at Bredon Hancock’s school received their first mission.

Yesterday morning, whist reading through their weekly newsletter – the Bredon Bugle – the agents noticed a strange article which they recognised as being in some sort of code.

Coded message in the Bredon Bugle

Coded message in the Bredon Bugle

They phoned me and by the time I had rushed out of my office in iGenCa HQ and driven over to join them, they had donned their special agent ID badges, got out their investigation packs, started work with their code wheels and begun to decode the message. After a little bit of work, this is what we found it said:

To the bird of the night,
and another brightest blue.
I have taken something
That belongs to you.

Have you got what it takes,
To unravel the mystery?
You’ll need teamwork and brains,
Or your item is history.

Your entry point,
is where it begins.
Your imagination and mine:
Let’s see who wins…

It didn’t take us long to figure out that “bird of the night, and another brightest blue” was a reference to the agents in their normal pupil roles as Owls and Kingfishers, but what did the rest of the message mean?

I called a team to help me work through the rest of the verses and someone suggested that ‘entry point’ could mean the main entrance to the school. Another agent had spotted some new state-of-the-art security cameras had been installed in that area, so we went out to have a look.

state-of-the-art security camera

We located two of these cameras and decided we would have a look at the files on them to see if they had caught anything useful on tape.

They had!

The first one we watched showed us a person (that we recognised from previously intercepted footage) breaking into the school and then leaving again having wrapped something up and put it in her rucksack. She had some sort of device that zapped the camera though, so we couldn’t see everything.

When we looked at the footage from the other camera (that the intruder hadn’t spotted or zapped) it helped answer some of our questions: she had taken the sports trophy!

Here’s the combined footage from both cameras that shows what happened:

CCTV footage of the intruder from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

Now the coded message from the Bugle made a lot more sense! We also knew we had to get permission to launch a full-blown mission, so our next task was to summarise what had happened in a report to Agent A to explain why it was important for us to investigate this.

Mission initiation report. What do we need to put in it?

Mission initiation report. What do we need to put in it?

One of the special agents sets out what had happened that morning

One of the special agents sets out what had happened that morning

We sent the reports off, but then realised we had to act fast if we were to be able to interview someone who was likely to provide some key evidence in our investigation: Mrs Greenwood the cleaner went home after lunch so we had to speak to her fast!



Here’s what was written on the paper:

  • Research challengers
  • Are they are good enough?
  • Think of a way to test them
  • Be sneaky
  • See what they do and who they tell?
  • Are they a good team?
  • Wait for contact
  • ???

What were we to make of that?

While we were thinking, a message came back from Agent A giving us permission to go ahead with the mission. We used the school’s recording devices to interview the head mistress (who had information about the security cameras) and the secretary (who had information about what state her office was in when she arrived at work that morning).

From what the cleaner and the secretary had told us, we decided to see if we could lift any fingerprints from the scene of the crime. First we practised getting prints from our own fingers and then a few of us went to look in the foyer to see if we could get any off the remaining trophies, the door or the reception hatch.

Examining the fingerprints on the large trophy

Examining the fingerprints on the large trophy

Unfortunately we were unable to lift any of these prints, but we had a really close look and decided that the ones on the door and the hatch were probably the same.

From the to-do list that the intruder dropped, we knew she was watching us to see who we would tell about what had happened.

I was unable to join the special agents today, but I believe they were compiling a special edition of the Bredon Bugle to tell EVERYONE.