Bradley crept softly over the dew-covered grass, the house about fourteen crawls away, by his keen estimation. This house was a challenge. Security lights that rotated. He’d observed from behind the back fence, through the smallest of cracks, and learned the timing of the beams of lights, the spots on the rich green lawn. Three crawls forward, two to the left, wait to the count of six Mississippi, four crawls forward, one left, wait. Twelve minutes later he imagined he could smell the Lysol on the kitchen floor—he was that close.

When he finally reached the back door, he timed the lights again. He’d have seven seconds to work the lock, then he’d move to the left, to remain in the shadows for twelve seconds, then back for seven more. He hoped he could pick the lock in seven or eight cycles, about two and a half minutes, total, then he’d give himself four minutes, no more, inside the house, in case there was a silent alarm. There was always the chance that a random patrol would be in the neighborhood but odds were, this close to shift change, the five on-duty patrol cars would be closer to the station.

It was worth the risk.

A Rembrandt.

It would fetch a million, easy, even on the gray market. He’d lined up the fence, planned for three weeks, and the prize was just behind the locked door, then through the dining room to the formal foyer.

He wouldn’t linger, but would grab the painting, frame and all, and hurry, run, back the way he’d come, through the still open back gate with the lock he had easily picked nine and a half minutes earlier.

It was worth the risk, he reminded himself, as he felt the last tumbler fall.

He opened the door, padded in.