City of Fear
they ran a tight ship. Most of these places are run by lowlifes, but I’ve got nothing.’
    ‘Nothing? Impossible.’
    The arrest of the SoHo bouncer had revealed the flagrant disregard that bar managers showed for the city’s hiring regulations. That case had been a wake-up call, but only so much can change over a few years in an industry driven by profit margins.
    ‘That goes without saying, but it’s not much. I’ve got one guy – Jaime Rodriguez – with a six-year-old Burg II conviction and a couple pops two years ago for suspected drug distribution, but no convictions.’
    ‘How does he get popped twice without charges? How hard is it to make a drug case?’
    ‘Both times, he was picked up on the street in the Bronx,’ Ellie said, looking at her notes. ‘High-crime neighborhood, late at night. Seen walking between open car windows and a nearby building. No drugs found in the searches incident to arrest.’
    It was a standard setup for street-level drug dealing. Rodriguez would’ve been the negotiator, coming to an agreement on price and quantity with the customers in their cars and then directing them to a nearby location. He’d send a signal to someone – most likely a juvenile – who would run to an area stash house and meet the buyers at the agreed-upon delivery spot. Rodriguez keeps his hands clean.
    ‘I get the picture,’ Rogan said. ‘I wouldn’t call that nothing. The vic had meth in her system, and if it didn’t come from her friends, it came from somewhere else.’
    ‘Problem is, Rodriguez wasn’t working last night.’
    ‘Damn.’
    ‘We’ll get to him, but –’
    ‘Yeah, I know. Anyone else?’
    ‘I got a janitor. Leon Symanski.’
    ‘A Polish janitor? Insert joke here.’
    ‘I don’t think you’re supposed to say that.’ Ellie wagged a finger in Rogan’s direction. ‘Leon the janitor has a prior conviction for sexual misconduct. But it was twenty years ago.’
    ‘Could you track down any of the facts?’
    ‘I already had the reports faxed over. He admitted having sex with a sixteen-year-old who lived in his building. Apparently the girl was a regular at the Symanski apartment – talking to the wife, helping with the baby, that kind of thing. The dad was snooping around the girl’s room and found some records from an abortion clinic. He pulled her out of the Symanskis’ apartment and was smacking her around in the hallway. All hell broke loose, and when the cops showed up, Symanski owned up that he was the one who got the girl pregnant. The girl said it was consensual, but at sixteen, of course, that doesn’t matter.’
    ‘Twenty years ago?’
    ‘Yeah. Symanski would’ve been twenty-six at the time. He got a year’s probation. No problems since.’
    ‘A year of probation? No time?’ Rogan asked.
    ‘Weird, huh?’
    ‘I’ve got to think that even twenty years ago you got more for sleeping with a teenager than shoplifting.’
    ‘Right. So that’s why I don’t think we’ve got anything here. My Spidey senses tell me that whatever prosecutor caught Symanski’s case didn’t think it was a predator kind of situation.’ Although all kids under the age of consent were legally off-limits, those in law enforcement frequently used their discretion to distinguish between men wrapped up in a precocious teenager’s March – September experiment and the true sex offenders. ‘Twenty years of law-abiding behavior since then suggests they got it right.’
    ‘I’ll call Mariah Florkoski at CSU to make sure she compares the latent from the victim’s shirt against both Rodriguez and Symanski. Maybe one of them somehow got left out of NCIC.’
    ‘Can’t hurt,’ she said. It wasn’t likely to help, either. Florkoski had already run the latent in the NCIC database, which should have contained prints for both Rodriguez and Symanski.
    ‘Well, on that uplifting note, I say we get some rest and start anew tomorrow,’ Rogan said. ‘We’ll start with the biggest credit

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