“We’re all stories in the end, we just have to make it a good one.”
– The Doctor (Doctor Who)
Listening to the support requests coming from different patrol teams, Jim’s face turned dark.
The total number of ‘Phantom Thiefs’ discovered had exceeded twenty, scattered throughout the entire eighteenth floor in different corners.
Which ones were dummies, which one was the real Phantom Thief, or if any of them are real, is still unknown.
How did Phantom Thief manage to release so many dummies in so many places?
‘Could it be that in the less than thirty minutes I was checking the surveillance footage, Phantom Thief not only tampered with the power supply but also spread many dummies? How is that possible? How could so many dummies have remained hidden until now without anyone noticing?’
On stage, Robin’s expression was also gloomy.
Phantom Thief was always one step ahead of them, so they always fell into his traps.
Ever since becoming Robin, he has faced many criminals in Gotham, including the Riddler, Two-Face, Penguin, and even the Joker, but a situation like this is rare.
Although Robin and the others had been playing right into Phantom Thief’s hands, they had not guessed everything wrong.
For example, they once thought that Phantom Thief was disguised among the bidders…
At this moment, Dean was indeed disguised as someone, calmly hidden among the crowd.
In fact, his situation was quite tough.
The police had set up a perimeter around the auction bidders, which they were all still inside.
If Jim suddenly realized that Phantom Thief must be hiding among the crowd and that everyone outside was a dummy.
Then he would order to tighten the perimeter and then start verifying the identity of each person, and the situation would turn against Dean in an instant.
But this would mean giving up on chasing the ‘Phantom Thief’ outside, whose identities were unknown, whether they were real or dummies.
Because GCPD’s police resources were limited, they couldn’t guarantee that no one would escape from the perimeter and, at the same time, give the police the opportunity to catch the dummy.
The problem was, who could be sure of Phantom Thief’s real body?
Who would dare gamble on that?
Robin said he would.
“Ignore those running dummies; they’re all smoke bombs set up by Phantom Thief!”
Robin came to Jim and said it with a serious face.
“No matter what puzzling things he has done, don’t forget his ultimate goal – ‘Pink Fantasy’!”
When hearing this, Jim immediately understood and quickly ordered someone to bring the auction host, Manager Joey Cicero.
Joey was in the middle of the crowd and was quickly brought in front of Jim.
‘What’s going on? Why are these cops bothering me instead of going after Phantom Thief? Could it be… they found out about the fake pink diamond?’
Thinking of this, Joey felt uneasy as he avoided Jim’s sharp gaze.
Jim grew suspicious at Joey’s unusual behavior and grabbed his face, and pulled it hard.
“Ah! Commissioner, what are you doing?”
Joey’s face was hurting from being pulled, causing him to cry out.
After pulling and tugging Joey’s face, Jim confirmed that Joey wasn’t wearing a disguise mask or anything.
After releasing his grip, Jim saw Joey’s face, which had swollen up and turned red.
“Sorry, Mr. Joey, it’s a necessary precaution. I have an important question for you, and I hope you answer truthfully.”
Joey’s real face did not ignore Jim’s suspicions, and he kept a sharp eye on him.
‘So… they really found out about it… If the GCPD knows, Penguin will surely come after me and my family…’
Joey went pale, and his legs trembled at the thought of the angry look from Penguin.
This behavior made Jim’s suspicion of him even stronger.
On the side, Robin observed the questioning process without interrupting, carefully studying Joey’s expression.
‘It’s not an act, he really feels scared deep inside. Phantom Thief wouldn’t have such low psychological strength… so what is he afraid of?’
Robin fell into deep thought.
‘Is it about the rumor of the diamond being fake? Is ‘Pink Fantasy’ the scam that Phantom Thief wants to expose today?’
Robin shook his head in his mind and said, ‘It’s not that simple. Even if the diamond is fake, it wasn’t actually sold. The chance of being held accountable for this level of crime in Gotham is slim. It doesn’t explain Joey’s fear…”
“Where did you hide ‘Pink Fantasy,’ Mr. Joey?”
On the other side, Jim asked Joey with a cold expression.
“You’ve seen the situation now, it’s intense. Please hand over the diamond to the police for safekeeping!”
Joey realized that this was bad.
Jim asking for the diamond meant that the fake diamond operation was exposed. He just wasn’t sure if GCPD knew the secret behind the fake diamond.
“Well, Commissioner, ‘Pink Fantasy’ hasn’t been auctioned yet. It’s the private property of Mr. William Ethan. I need to ask him first before making any decisions…”
Joey tried to buy some time by forcing a smile.
Jim stared at him blankly.
At the same time, Dean watched the scene from the crowd and kept a close eye on Jim and Joey.
‘Tsk, Jim, and Robin actually went to interrogate Joey. They must be trying to get the ‘Pink Fantasy’ earlier. I didn’t expect my dummy plan to fail!’
Dean rubbed his chin, thinking to himself, ‘It seems I need to use a slightly more aggressive plan.’
Dean put his hands down and shook his palms up slightly, and a few ping-pong-sized objects fell into his palms from his sleeves.
With these small balls in his hands, Dean skillfully played them into the crowd, slowly approaching the police perimeter.
He avoided the first few rows, as it would be too noticeable.
When no one was paying attention, Dean flicked his fingers and bounced all the small balls in his hand.
After several loud noises, thick smoke quickly arose, engulfing everyone nearby and spreading outward.
“It’s a smoke bomb! Phantom Thief is in the crowd! Beware of people around you, they might all be Phantom Thief!”
As Dean shouted, he took out a palm-sized object and tossed it casually into the crowd.
He pressed a switch on the object, and it began to rapidly expand before his eyes, in an instant, it grew to the size of a person.
Yes, an inflatable dummy Phantom Thief, was formed!
“Ah! It’s Phantom Thief! I saw him over there!”
“Officer, I saw Phantom Thief too! Hurry, catch him!”
A bunch of screams and shouts sounded out from the smoke, the voices of men, women, young, and old, all sounding real.
Most of these people were famous in Gotham, so the cops couldn’t ignore their requests for help.
Once the dozen or so police officers maintaining the perimeter heard the voices from within the smoke, they immediately rushed in.
This sudden movement not only created a gap in the perimeter but also drove the police beside him to take action.
Instead of taking this opportunity to escape, Dean drove the nearby auction participants away, saying in a low voice, “The GCPD officers are all chasing Phantom Thief. We can’t stay here and cause trouble. Let’s run away first!”
While saying these words, Dean didn’t speak loudly, but just enough for the few people around him to hear.