"You didn't know about the necklace until today," Ricky said. "Hell, you'd never met Mr Philips until this morning. So why did the people who attacked you think you already had it? As far as that goes, how did they know Mr Philips had it in the first place?"
"That, my dear man, is the sixty-four thousand dollar question."
"Someone talked about it? Maybe at a bar?"
"And one of the people who wants it back just happened to be there at exactly the right time? That would be a hell of a coincidence."
"Someone followed the guy to Philips' store?"
"If they knew he had the necklace, why not take it from him before he got there?"
Ricky nodded. "Good point. Someone was… No that wouldn't work. They'd have to plant someone in every store the thief might visit, on the off chance he'd go to one of them."
I snapped my fingers. Yeah the idea that the man had stolen the necklace was pretty much a given. But… "Okay, looking at it from a different angle. The guy steals it from someone who had already stolen it from the original owner."
"Part of a gang?"
"Yeah. The man the goons mentioned is rumored, according to Officer Parker, to run a sophisticated theft ring."
"So… the guy steals the necklace from the plunder the man…" he looked at me questioningly.
"Mr Caiazzo." I resisted chuckling when he called it plunder.
"The plunder Mr Caiazzo or some of his people had from a theft." Ricky tapped a finger on the table thoughtfully. I remained quiet, waiting for what would come next. "So," he said, "Caiazzo figures out who took it, but not until it's too late to get it back. He… grabs the guy and makes him tell him what he did with it."
I nodded. "It would explain why he never came back to get the necklace."
Ricky grimaced as he asked, "How long would it take to make someone talk?"
"Not having any personal experience with that, other than my little set-to last night, I couldn't say. First Caiazzo would have to find the guy who, probably, went underground as soon as he dropped the necklace off with Philips. God knows I would if I was him."
"So it takes a day or three, but Caiazzo's people finally get their hands on him. They torture him until he talks then… What?"
"If I'm right," I said, "and I'm going to check when I go to Philips' store this afternoon, they planted a bug, or bugs, to see what they could find out. They might even have sent people in, posing as customers looking for a period necklace for a wife or girlfriend, to see if Philips had it in-house."
We stopped talking when the waitress brought our lunches. Then Ricky said, after taking a bite of his Ruben, "They break in, looking for it."
"Yep. But can't get into the safe."
"And they're supposed to be professionals?" Ricky shook his head.
"They might have been interrupted by the cop arriving. The security company called them. Still, you'd think they'd have disarmed the security when they broke in."