CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
Cami saw Connor look up, surprise on his face at her suggestion, and for the first time, she saw actual hope in his eyes.
“A number plate recognition program?” he asked.
“Yes. I wrote it for something else, as a college test. But I think it could be customized in order to fit in with what we have here.”
“Now that would be a real time saver,” Connor said, and she now saw he hated this mind numbingly tedious checking just as much as she did.
“Where can I run it?” she asked, hesitant to upload a new program onto an actual police machine. She thought that might set off alarm bells, either figurative or literal. “I mean, I don’t want to get into trouble, Connor. But it can’t run off my phone, and it’ll have to be uploaded somewhere.”
There was a short pause.
Then, with a sigh, Connor pushed over his own machine to her. The police laptop she’d been using, he turned in his own direction.
“Here you are,” he said.
“Thanks,” Cami said, feeling surprisingly grateful for the trust he’d shown. That truly was trust, right? Giving her his personal machine so that she could run an experimental program on it had to be a sign of trust.
She turned Connor’s laptop in her direction, aware that it was older and a slower machine—by her standards—and that she could not risk compromising it in any way. She would have to be careful and considerate of its user, who must have a wealth of important data stored on here.
Going online, she found her program and installed it. The program loaded. She checked it over for a moment. It was a pretty simple visual recognition program.As her lecturer for that class had repeatedly told her—for goodness’ sake, keep it simple. Now, Cami was grateful all over again for this advice.
Then she started making the changes she’d need to do for it to pick up the points of similarity in between the two sets of footage—with room for yet another comparison point to be added if they obtained the third set.
It was easy to tweak the program, and she was feeling optimistic by the time she’d put in the basic parameters.
Next, she started the process of capturing the footage, and waited as the lines of text began to churn across the screen, scrolling down, faster and faster. The program was working, just like it was supposed to.
She hit play, and let the footage run.
“Coffee?” she asked.
Connor looked up, surprised. “Sure,” he said. “Thanks.”
Cami went to the kitchenette she’d blasted past earlier, in a temper and needing to get away. There was a jug of coffee there and she poured two cups, put sugar and cream on the tray, and took it through. There was no point in watching while the program ran. It wouldn’t make it go any faster. In fact, she’d always felt it was better luck to walk away.
She took the tray back, passed Connor his cup, took one of her own, and then returned to the screen.
Immediately, she saw something there.
“Connor!” she said. “It’s got a match.”
He jumped up and hurried around to look. “Already?”
“Yes. There might be more, but this is the first, clear one. It’s a black vehicle and it has out-of-state plates. Virginia plates.”
“That’s excellent.” He was looking at her with something she was sure was respect. Then he scanned the time stamps for the camera footage.
“It was in each of the two locations the day before the murders. That’s close enough to mean something. Let’s look up those plates.”
Connor logged into the FBI database from the police computer because Cami’s program was still running on his own machine.
“It’s worth checking this out, even if there are others, if he’s been here for the duration of all these murders. He could have traveled here to commit the crimes, and then be planning to go back home or else hit another city,” Connor said.
He waited for the database to process the information.
“Okay,” he said. “The vehicle is licensed to a man called Francois Leeming. I’m going to see what we can find out about him. And while we do that, I’m getting an urgent APB out on the vehicle. We need to know where he is now.”