At Providence's Gate
Home | Providence Gate Chat | Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven | Chapter Eight | Chapter Nine | Chapter Ten | Chapter Eleven | Chapter Twelve | Chapter Thirteen | Chapter Fourteen | Chapter Fifteen | Chapter Sixteen | Chapter Seventeen | Chapter Eighteen | Chapter Nineteen | Chapter Twenty | Chapter Twenty One | Chapter Twenty Two | Chapter Twenty Three | Chapter Twenty Four | Chapter Twenty Five
Chapter Five

     It was Monday morning.  Jason sat back in his kitchenette chair, a look of satisfaction on his face.  The San Antonio Diamond Exchange seemed to be a great target.  On Sunday morning he had checked with Dun and Bradstreet, the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and the San Antonio Business Journal, and a number of other sources he found on the Internet.  Pretty much a one-man-show since the death of Abe Walsteins wife, Biggs thought to himself, an unsuccessful one man show at that.

     He knew he would have to work fast, but he had already done as much of the preparation as possible long before now.  He had obtained identification cards for two false identities he anticipated he might need.  He made a false resume to go along with his new persona.  He even contacted Mel, Al and Frank to provide assistance as needed.  In fact, if he didnt leave now, hed be late for his Sunday afternoon meeting with them in Breckenridge Park.

     Jason was the last to arrive.  The guys noticed the big change right away he had black hair, not blonde.  Hey Jason, shouted Frank as their old gang leader approached.

     Alright guys, from this moment on, it aint Jason, got it?  Im John Boucher, see?  My name is John Boucher.  Get used to it.

     But Jase err John, whats the big deal? asked Frank.

     The man who once had been the charismatic ringleader of a  high school gang that stole clothing from exclusive mens stores stared Frank in they eyes and after about 30 seconds said, I am not going to jail for anyones mistake and from now on you all will address me as John Boucher. You all got it?

     His three friends nodded in agreement. It was Mel who finally found his voice and asked, John, isnt that the name of that nerd you palled around with for a while one summer?

     Yep, poor sucker was killed in an airplane crash in Cairo.  His dad was stationed in Germany and decided to take the family to see the pyramids.  The whole family was wiped out, replied Jason.

     As soon as I found out about it, I began collecting memorabilia that had Johns name on it, said the would-be    big time criminal.    I sent for his birth certificate, got a library card in Johns Bouchers name as well as four credit cards and a Texas Drivers License.  I vowed when I pull my first bank job or really big robbery, Id be ready with new identity.  What he didnt tell his pals was he also had a passport in Bouchers name and another equally complete set of documents in the name of Jeff Begley. 

     What are we gonna hit? Al asked.  We arent going to hit anything, Jason replied, This is a job I do by myself, you guys just provide me with some logistical support, got it?

     As he talked to his fellow conspirators, Jason began pulling digital phones from a rather large attaché case he was carrying.  He checked the number on each phone and handed the phones to each of the men.

     No, these arent a bonus for doing the job with me, he told them, In fact, when your portion of Phase One of the operation is over, you are to destroy and discard the phone, got it?

     Yeah, but John see I called ya John, what is it with this Phase One and telephones and all, Frank asked.

     Im about to tell you, answered Jason calmly and matter-of-factly, Now sit back, shut up and listen. Save your questions for the end.

     Jason then went on to tell his cohorts that he had decided to hit the San Antonio Diamond Exchange.  Before I even have a chance to do the job, Ive got to get a job with the exchange, he told them. Thats where you guys and the cell phones come in.

     Jason had this heist covered from one end to the other.  Mel, Frank and Al were to be references for John Boucher.  He gave them copies of his resume, loosely written scripts of expected questions Abe Walstein may ask and appropriate responses. He even had programmed the digital phones to ring a specific tune when he called them and to ring a different tune if the call came from Wlasteins home or business phone.

     Hey, it says here, Im Ben Hanson, manager of the Alamo City Delivery Service, Mel said while reading his script.  Im Pete Delgado, mailroom supervisor at Bexar Savings and Loan, piped in Frank. You got me being Mr. Woods the guidance counselor? Al said incredulously.

     Thats who you all are, memorize your parts because if I dont get this job you dont get paid.  The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting at a secluded picnic table in woody Breckenridge Park going over possible answers to questions.  When they departed at around dusk, each man said they felt comfortable with their role.

     That evening, Jason, now John, studied his resume and practiced his employment interview in front of a mirror.  Although he claimed to be John Boucher, he still used some information from his real life, rationalizing he would be more believable to the old man if he were talking about real things that happened in his life.

     When he felt comfortable with his new persona, John put the bags he had packed earlier in the back of his car and left the home he had been raised in.  Within 15 minutes he pulled into the Shady Oak Motel and rented a room by the month.  With all vestiges of Jason Biggs back at his house, the new John Boucher was born.

     Early Monday morning, John arose, changed into a very conservative gray business suit with vest and left for the San Antonio Diamond Exchange.  He was determined to be the first and most believable candidate for the job.

     Entering the diamond exchange, he saw Mr. Walstein near a display case and strode confidently up to the old man, giving him his resume with one hand and shaking the old mans right hand with the other. Sir, my name is John Boucher and I am interested in applying for the office manager position you advertised in the newspaper yesterday.

     My goodness, but you are Johnny-on-the-spot, arent you, said Abe, chuckling at his little play on words as he gave the young man a slow once over.  There wasnt much that the old jeweler could fault John on. He was very conservatively dressed.  His hair was neatly groomed.  He was articulate and polite.

     The old jeweler interviewed John for about ten minutes in the showroom before Ina entered. She was a beautiful woman who didnt look her age.  Perhaps all the years locked in her fathers house had suspended her in time because she looked to be at least a decade younger than her 46 years.  Ina wore a smart looking business suit with a skirt that stopped around six inches above her knee,  revealing tantalyzing Tina Turner legs.  Her blouse was tight and jacket opened so John and anyone else could easily admire her curvaceous breasts.

     Ina, meet John Boucher, the first person to answer the ad, Abe said as he noticed his daughter had entered the showroom.

     Pleased to meet you Mr. Boucher, replied Ina, extending her hand.  She took her time relinquishing Johns handshake, sizing the young man up by the feel of his grip as much as by the style of his suit.  Have you been an office manager before? she asked.

     Before John could answer, Abe handed Ina his resume and said, No, but hes done clerical work before, in a mail room and he had a very responsible job as an executive courier, transporting sensitive and valuable items.

     Why do you think you are capable of running an office? Ina asked, never taking her gaze from Johns face.

     Well Ms, I am a quick study, he unabashedly replied, and there isnt a job I havent ever mastered in a short period of time.

     And hes studying Criminal Justice at SAC, Abe chimed in, giving Ina the impression her father was already sold on hiring this first applicant who came along.

     So you want to be a police officer, Ina said.  Actually I want to become a lawyer and then a prosecuting attorney so I can put the bad guys away, John answered.

     Ina asked a few more questions then said, Well, its been nice meeting you, Im sure we will get back to you soon with my fathers decision.  Its been nice meeting you. Abe said, Yes, we will talk soon, and shook hands with John.

     John left with a feeling that he had made a good impression, especially with the old man.  Ina seemed a little tough, a little reluctant to trust.  He felt Abe would be the one to make the final decision though, so John was quite pleased with himself.

     Meanwhile, back in the diamond exchange, Ina quizzed her father. What do you know about this boy? she asked curtly.  I know hes bright, ambitious, handsome and a good talker, Abe replied.  You will check his references, Ina responded in more of an order than a statement of fact.  The old man nodded his assent and walked slowly back to his office.

     As soon as John arrived back at his motel room, he phoned each of his references and confidently told them to soon expect a call from his future employer.  He told Mel about the recent death of Abes wife and the two concocted a tale that would surely put John in a good light with the old man.

     It just so happened Mel was the first reference Abe checked with.  Alamo City Delivery, where do you want it and when do you want it there? Mel said brightly as he answered the custom ring on the mobile phone John had given him.

     This is Abe Walstein, the jeweler began, Of the San Antonio Diamond Exchange.  Dont believe youve ever used us before, Mel interrupted. Uh, you havent, A former employee of yours listed Ben Hanson as a reference.  Is he in? Abe asked.

     Youre talkin to him, answered Mel. And who might that former employee be?  John Boucher, answered the old man.

     John, John Bouchers lookin for a job?  Why didnt he come back here?  Im lookin for some reliable help right now, Mel said.

     Why did you let him go in the first place, Abe asked, allowing Mel to set the hook that he had discussed with John earlier.  I didnt let him go, Mel explained, His mother became very ill and he quit so he could take care of her.  She passed away with cancer last year, you know, Mel said sadly.  I see, was all Abe could muster in response.

     Ben Hansen went on to answer a few of the old jewelers questions and it seemed that he said the right thing because the phone call only lasted a few minutes and at the end Abe thanked him profusely for the information.

     Walstein put the phone down and looked at the notes he had taken during his conversation with Ben Hansen.  Phrases like honest as the day is long, a quick learner, devoted son, and loyal employee jumped out at him. But the devoted son accolade was the important point to the sentimental old jeweler who had just lost his wife.  All the other laudatory information was just icing on the cake.

     The call to Pete Delgado elicited similar plaudits about the work habits and character of John Boucher.  So sure that the lad would be the best selection, that Abe decided to forego calling the third reference.

     Ina took a little persuading, but her father was able to convince her that he had made the right decision.  One particular point made by the Bexar Savings and Loan mail room supervisor was Johns honesty.  At one time, he said, John found a packet containing six thousand dollars that had been placed in his delivery pouch by mistake.  Instead of coming back from his distribution run to the other branches and keeping quiet about the money, John immediately reported it to Delgado.

     John was not surprised when he received a phone call from Abe that evening.  The old man informed him that the job was his for a wage of $7.50 an hour to start.  When asked  if he could start the next morning, John asked if his job would interfere with a 5:30 pm class he had on Tuesdays and Thursdays at San Antonio Community College.

     Abe told John that as long as all his classes were evening ones they could work around his schedule.  John asked a few perfunctory questions about a dress code, lunch hour, and pay day and then agreed to take the job and report the next day.

     The young chameleon who only had larceny in his heart was an excellent employee from the first day.  He truly was a quick study, mastering most of the procedures of the exchange by the end of that first short week.  His promptness was impressive as were his communication skills, especially his ability to make strangers comfortable.  Even suspicious Ina let her guard down a bit after a couple of weeks.

     John endeared himself further to the Walsteins by becoming Abes yardman after the one he had been using was sent to prison for theft.  It made the old man feel safer after finding out the criminal history of his other yardman of four years while watching the television news one night.

     Soon John was eating his Sunday meals at Abes house too.  So articulate and entertaining was the young man that he was invited to parties and was an instant hit among friends and associates of the San Antonio Diamond Exchange and the Walsteins.  Abe began considering John a surrogate son.

     Occasionally John would run into one of the Preppies on the street and invariably would be asked when the big hit was going to go down.  His stock answer was that he still needed to get some more information but truth was, he had the security pass code for the alarm system, the combinations of both the safe and the vault and he had even made copies of the keys to the front and back doors.

     John was in no hurry to hit the exchange though.  The main reason was that Abe kept telling Ina he was going to make a huge purchase of more than three million dollars worth of cut diamonds which would be used to fabricate her custom collection of fine jewelry.

     Weeks turned into months and then nearly a year before  Abe made good on his promise to Ina and when he did, it was in a big way.  Instead of three million dollars in value, he made a deal with a large jewelry company that was going out of business to buy its entire inventory of loose diamonds valued at 4.5 million for the three million he had set aside.

     John knew all the waiting worked for he was about to commit the biggest jewelry heist in history.  With the diamonds scheduled to be delivered by armed couriers in just seven days, he began making final preparations to consummate the job he had envisioned over a year earlier.  Then Ina threw a curve ball John didnt know how to hit.

It was Monday morning.  Jason sat back in his kitchenette chair, a look of satisfaction on his face.  The San Antonio Diamond Exchange seemed to be a great target.  On Sunday morning he had checked with Dun and Bradstreet, the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and the San Antonio Business Journal, and a number of other sources he found on the Internet.  Pretty much a one-man-show since the death of Abe Walsteins wife, Biggs thought to himself, an unsuccessful one man show at that.

     He knew he would have to work fast, but he had already done as much of the preparation as possible long before now.  He had obtained identification cards for two false identities he anticipated he might need.  He made a false resume to go along with his new persona.  He even contacted Mel, Al and Frank to provide assistance as needed.  In fact, if he didnt leave now, hed be late for his Sunday afternoon meeting with them in Breckenridge Park.

     Jason was the last to arrive.  The guys noticed the big change right away he had black hair, not blonde.  Hey Jason, shouted Frank as their old gang leader approached.

     Alright guys, from this moment on, it aint Jason, got it?  Im John Boucher, see?  My name is John Boucher.  Get used to it.

     But Jase err John, whats the big deal? asked Frank.

     The man who once had been the charismatic ringleader of a  high school gang that stole clothing from exclusive mens stores stared Frank in they eyes and after about 30 seconds said, I am not going to jail for anyones mistake and from now on you all will address me as John Boucher. You all got it?

     His three friends nodded in agreement. It was Mel who finally found his voice and asked, John, isnt that the name of that nerd you palled around with for a while one summer?

     Yep, poor sucker was killed in an airplane crash in Cairo.  His dad was stationed in Germany and decided to take the family to see the pyramids.  The whole family was wiped out, replied Jason.

     As soon as I found out about it, I began collecting memorabilia that had Johns name on it, said the would-be    big time criminal.    I sent for his birth certificate, got a library card in Johns Bouchers name as well as four credit cards and a Texas Drivers License.  I vowed when I pull my first bank job or really big robbery, Id be ready with new identity.  What he didnt tell his pals was he also had a passport in Bouchers name and another equally complete set of documents in the name of Jeff Begley. 

     What are we gonna hit? Al asked.  We arent going to hit anything, Jason replied, This is a job I do by myself, you guys just provide me with some logistical support, got it?

     As he talked to his fellow conspirators, Jason began pulling digital phones from a rather large attaché case he was carrying.  He checked the number on each phone and handed the phones to each of the men.

     No, these arent a bonus for doing the job with me, he told them, In fact, when your portion of Phase One of the operation is over, you are to destroy and discard the phone, got it?

     Yeah, but John see I called ya John, what is it with this Phase One and telephones and all, Frank asked.

     Im about to tell you, answered Jason calmly and matter-of-factly, Now sit back, shut up and listen. Save your questions for the end.

     Jason then went on to tell his cohorts that he had decided to hit the San Antonio Diamond Exchange.  Before I even have a chance to do the job, Ive got to get a job with the exchange, he told them. Thats where you guys and the cell phones come in.

     Jason had this heist covered from one end to the other.  Mel, Frank and Al were to be references for John Boucher.  He gave them copies of his resume, loosely written scripts of expected questions Abe Walstein may ask and appropriate responses. He even had programmed the digital phones to ring a specific tune when he called them and to ring a different tune if the call came from Wlasteins home or business phone.

     Hey, it says here, Im Ben Hanson, manager of the Alamo City Delivery Service, Mel said while reading his script.  Im Pete Delgado, mailroom supervisor at Bexar Savings and Loan, piped in Frank. You got me being Mr. Woods the guidance counselor? Al said incredulously.

     Thats who you all are, memorize your parts because if I dont get this job you dont get paid.  The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting at a secluded picnic table in woody Breckenridge Park going over possible answers to questions.  When they departed at around dusk, each man said they felt comfortable with their role.

     That evening, Jason, now John, studied his resume and practiced his employment interview in front of a mirror.  Although he claimed to be John Boucher, he still used some information from his real life, rationalizing he would be more believable to the old man if he were talking about real things that happened in his life.

     When he felt comfortable with his new persona, John put the bags he had packed earlier in the back of his car and left the home he had been raised in.  Within 15 minutes he pulled into the Shady Oak Motel and rented a room by the month.  With all vestiges of Jason Biggs back at his house, the new John Boucher was born.

     Early Monday morning, John arose, changed into a very conservative gray business suit with vest and left for the San Antonio Diamond Exchange.  He was determined to be the first and most believable candidate for the job.

     Entering the diamond exchange, he saw Mr. Walstein near a display case and strode confidently up to the old man, giving him his resume with one hand and shaking the old mans right hand with the other. Sir, my name is John Boucher and I am interested in applying for the office manager position you advertised in the newspaper yesterday.

     My goodness, but you are Johnny-on-the-spot, arent you, said Abe, chuckling at his little play on words as he gave the young man a slow once over.  There wasnt much that the old jeweler could fault John on. He was very conservatively dressed.  His hair was neatly groomed.  He was articulate and polite.

     The old jeweler interviewed John for about ten minutes in the showroom before Ina entered. She was a beautiful woman who didnt look her age.  Perhaps all the years locked in her fathers house had suspended her in time because she looked to be at least a decade younger than her 46 years.  Ina wore a smart looking business suit with a skirt that stopped around six inches above her knee,  revealing tantalyzing Tina Turner legs.  Her blouse was tight and jacket opened so John and anyone else could easily admire her curvaceous breasts.

     Ina, meet John Boucher, the first person to answer the ad, Abe said as he noticed his daughter had entered the showroom.

     Pleased to meet you Mr. Boucher, replied Ina, extending her hand.  She took her time relinquishing Johns handshake, sizing the young man up by the feel of his grip as much as by the style of his suit.  Have you been an office manager before? she asked.

     Before John could answer, Abe handed Ina his resume and said, No, but hes done clerical work before, in a mail room and he had a very responsible job as an executive courier, transporting sensitive and valuable items.

     Why do you think you are capable of running an office? Ina asked, never taking her gaze from Johns face.

     Well Ms, I am a quick study, he unabashedly replied, and there isnt a job I havent ever mastered in a short period of time.

     And hes studying Criminal Justice at SAC, Abe chimed in, giving Ina the impression her father was already sold on hiring this first applicant who came along.

     So you want to be a police officer, Ina said.  Actually I want to become a lawyer and then a prosecuting attorney so I can put the bad guys away, John answered.

     Ina asked a few more questions then said, Well, its been nice meeting you, Im sure we will get back to you soon with my fathers decision.  Its been nice meeting you. Abe said, Yes, we will talk soon, and shook hands with John.

     John left with a feeling that he had made a good impression, especially with the old man.  Ina seemed a little tough, a little reluctant to trust.  He felt Abe would be the one to make the final decision though, so John was quite pleased with himself.

     Meanwhile, back in the diamond exchange, Ina quizzed her father. What do you know about this boy? she asked curtly.  I know hes bright, ambitious, handsome and a good talker, Abe replied.  You will check his references, Ina responded in more of an order than a statement of fact.  The old man nodded his assent and walked slowly back to his office.

     As soon as John arrived back at his motel room, he phoned each of his references and confidently told them to soon expect a call from his future employer.  He told Mel about the recent death of Abes wife and the two concocted a tale that would surely put John in a good light with the old man.

     It just so happened Mel was the first reference Abe checked with.  Alamo City Delivery, where do you want it and when do you want it there? Mel said brightly as he answered the custom ring on the mobile phone John had given him.

     This is Abe Walstein, the jeweler began, Of the San Antonio Diamond Exchange.  Dont believe youve ever used us before, Mel interrupted. Uh, you havent, A former employee of yours listed Ben Hanson as a reference.  Is he in? Abe asked.

     Youre talkin to him, answered Mel. And who might that former employee be?  John Boucher, answered the old man.

     John, John Bouchers lookin for a job?  Why didnt he come back here?  Im lookin for some reliable help right now, Mel said.

     Why did you let him go in the first place, Abe asked, allowing Mel to set the hook that he had discussed with John earlier.  I didnt let him go, Mel explained, His mother became very ill and he quit so he could take care of her.  She passed away with cancer last year, you know, Mel said sadly.  I see, was all Abe could muster in response.

     Ben Hansen went on to answer a few of the old jewelers questions and it seemed that he said the right thing because the phone call only lasted a few minutes and at the end Abe thanked him profusely for the information.

     Walstein put the phone down and looked at the notes he had taken during his conversation with Ben Hansen.  Phrases like honest as the day is long, a quick learner, devoted son, and loyal employee jumped out at him. But the devoted son accolade was the important point to the sentimental old jeweler who had just lost his wife.  All the other laudatory information was just icing on the cake.

     The call to Pete Delgado elicited similar plaudits about the work habits and character of John Boucher.  So sure that the lad would be the best selection, that Abe decided to forego calling the third reference.

     Ina took a little persuading, but her father was able to convince her that he had made the right decision.  One particular point made by the Bexar Savings and Loan mail room supervisor was Johns honesty.  At one time, he said, John found a packet containing six thousand dollars that had been placed in his delivery pouch by mistake.  Instead of coming back from his distribution run to the other branches and keeping quiet about the money, John immediately reported it to Delgado.

     John was not surprised when he received a phone call from Abe that evening.  The old man informed him that the job was his for a wage of $7.50 an hour to start.  When asked  if he could start the next morning, John asked if his job would interfere with a 5:30 pm class he had on Tuesdays and Thursdays at San Antonio Community College.

     Abe told John that as long as all his classes were evening ones they could work around his schedule.  John asked a few perfunctory questions about a dress code, lunch hour, and pay day and then agreed to take the job and report the next day.

     The young chameleon who only had larceny in his heart was an excellent employee from the first day.  He truly was a quick study, mastering most of the procedures of the exchange by the end of that first short week.  His promptness was impressive as were his communication skills, especially his ability to make strangers comfortable.  Even suspicious Ina let her guard down a bit after a couple of weeks.

     John endeared himself further to the Walsteins by becoming Abes yardman after the one he had been using was sent to prison for theft.  It made the old man feel safer after finding out the criminal history of his other yardman of four years while watching the television news one night.

     Soon John was eating his Sunday meals at Abes house too.  So articulate and entertaining was the young man that he was invited to parties and was an instant hit among friends and associates of the San Antonio Diamond Exchange and the Walsteins.  Abe began considering John a surrogate son.

     Occasionally John would run into one of the Preppies on the street and invariably would be asked when the big hit was going to go down.  His stock answer was that he still needed to get some more information but truth was, he had the security pass code for the alarm system, the combinations of both the safe and the vault and he had even made copies of the keys to the front and back doors.

     John was in no hurry to hit the exchange though.  The main reason was that Abe kept telling Ina he was going to make a huge purchase of more than three million dollars worth of cut diamonds which would be used to fabricate her custom collection of fine jewelry.

     Weeks turned into months and then nearly a year before  Abe made good on his promise to Ina and when he did, it was in a big way.  Instead of three million dollars in value, he made a deal with a large jewelry company that was going out of business to buy its entire inventory of loose diamonds valued at 4.5 million for the three million he had set aside.

     John knew all the waiting worked for he was about to commit the biggest jewelry heist in history.  With the diamonds scheduled to be delivered by armed couriers in just seven days, he began making final preparations to consummate the job he had envisioned over a year earlier.  Then Ina threw a curve ball John didnt know how to hit.

It was Monday morning.  Jason sat back in his kitchenette chair, a look of satisfaction on his face.  The San Antonio Diamond Exchange seemed to be a great target.  On Sunday morning he had checked with Dun and Bradstreet, the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and the San Antonio Business Journal, and a number of other sources he found on the Internet.  Pretty much a one-man-show since the death of Abe Walsteins wife, Biggs thought to himself, an unsuccessful one man show at that.

     He knew he would have to work fast, but he had already done as much of the preparation as possible long before now.  He had obtained identification cards for two false identities he anticipated he might need.  He made a false resume to go along with his new persona.  He even contacted Mel, Al and Frank to provide assistance as needed.  In fact, if he didnt leave now, hed be late for his Sunday afternoon meeting with them in Breckenridge Park.

     Jason was the last to arrive.  The guys noticed the big change right away he had black hair, not blonde.  Hey Jason, shouted Frank as their old gang leader approached.

     Alright guys, from this moment on, it aint Jason, got it?  Im John Boucher, see?  My name is John Boucher.  Get used to it.

     But Jase err John, whats the big deal? asked Frank.

     The man who once had been the charismatic ringleader of a  high school gang that stole clothing from exclusive mens stores stared Frank in they eyes and after about 30 seconds said, I am not going to jail for anyones mistake and from now on you all will address me as John Boucher. You all got it?

     His three friends nodded in agreement. It was Mel who finally found his voice and asked, John, isnt that the name of that nerd you palled around with for a while one summer?

     Yep, poor sucker was killed in an airplane crash in Cairo.  His dad was stationed in Germany and decided to take the family to see the pyramids.  The whole family was wiped out, replied Jason.

     As soon as I found out about it, I began collecting memorabilia that had Johns name on it, said the would-be    big time criminal.    I sent for his birth certificate, got a library card in Johns Bouchers name as well as four credit cards and a Texas Drivers License.  I vowed when I pull my first bank job or really big robbery, Id be ready with new identity.  What he didnt tell his pals was he also had a passport in Bouchers name and another equally complete set of documents in the name of Jeff Begley. 

     What are we gonna hit? Al asked.  We arent going to hit anything, Jason replied, This is a job I do by myself, you guys just provide me with some logistical support, got it?

     As he talked to his fellow conspirators, Jason began pulling digital phones from a rather large attaché case he was carrying.  He checked the number on each phone and handed the phones to each of the men.

     No, these arent a bonus for doing the job with me, he told them, In fact, when your portion of Phase One of the operation is over, you are to destroy and discard the phone, got it?

     Yeah, but John see I called ya John, what is it with this Phase One and telephones and all, Frank asked.

     Im about to tell you, answered Jason calmly and matter-of-factly, Now sit back, shut up and listen. Save your questions for the end.

     Jason then went on to tell his cohorts that he had decided to hit the San Antonio Diamond Exchange.  Before I even have a chance to do the job, Ive got to get a job with the exchange, he told them. Thats where you guys and the cell phones come in.

     Jason had this heist covered from one end to the other.  Mel, Frank and Al were to be references for John Boucher.  He gave them copies of his resume, loosely written scripts of expected questions Abe Walstein may ask and appropriate responses. He even had programmed the digital phones to ring a specific tune when he called them and to ring a different tune if the call came from Wlasteins home or business phone.

     Hey, it says here, Im Ben Hanson, manager of the Alamo City Delivery Service, Mel said while reading his script.  Im Pete Delgado, mailroom supervisor at Bexar Savings and Loan, piped in Frank. You got me being Mr. Woods the guidance counselor? Al said incredulously.

     Thats who you all are, memorize your parts because if I dont get this job you dont get paid.  The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting at a secluded picnic table in woody Breckenridge Park going over possible answers to questions.  When they departed at around dusk, each man said they felt comfortable with their role.

     That evening, Jason, now John, studied his resume and practiced his employment interview in front of a mirror.  Although he claimed to be John Boucher, he still used some information from his real life, rationalizing he would be more believable to the old man if he were talking about real things that happened in his life.

     When he felt comfortable with his new persona, John put the bags he had packed earlier in the back of his car and left the home he had been raised in.  Within 15 minutes he pulled into the Shady Oak Motel and rented a room by the month.  With all vestiges of Jason Biggs back at his house, the new John Boucher was born.

     Early Monday morning, John arose, changed into a very conservative gray business suit with vest and left for the San Antonio Diamond Exchange.  He was determined to be the first and most believable candidate for the job.

     Entering the diamond exchange, he saw Mr. Walstein near a display case and strode confidently up to the old man, giving him his resume with one hand and shaking the old mans right hand with the other. Sir, my name is John Boucher and I am interested in applying for the office manager position you advertised in the newspaper yesterday.

     My goodness, but you are Johnny-on-the-spot, arent you, said Abe, chuckling at his little play on words as he gave the young man a slow once over.  There wasnt much that the old jeweler could fault John on. He was very conservatively dressed.  His hair was neatly groomed.  He was articulate and polite.

     The old jeweler interviewed John for about ten minutes in the showroom before Ina entered. She was a beautiful woman who didnt look her age.  Perhaps all the years locked in her fathers house had suspended her in time because she looked to be at least a decade younger than her 46 years.  Ina wore a smart looking business suit with a skirt that stopped around six inches above her knee,  revealing tantalyzing Tina Turner legs.  Her blouse was tight and jacket opened so John and anyone else could easily admire her curvaceous breasts.

     Ina, meet John Boucher, the first person to answer the ad, Abe said as he noticed his daughter had entered the showroom.

     Pleased to meet you Mr. Boucher, replied Ina, extending her hand.  She took her time relinquishing Johns handshake, sizing the young man up by the feel of his grip as much as by the style of his suit.  Have you been an office manager before? she asked.

     Before John could answer, Abe handed Ina his resume and said, No, but hes done clerical work before, in a mail room and he had a very responsible job as an executive courier, transporting sensitive and valuable items.

     Why do you think you are capable of running an office? Ina asked, never taking her gaze from Johns face.

     Well Ms, I am a quick study, he unabashedly replied, and there isnt a job I havent ever mastered in a short period of time.

     And hes studying Criminal Justice at SAC, Abe chimed in, giving Ina the impression her father was already sold on hiring this first applicant who came along.

     So you want to be a police officer, Ina said.  Actually I want to become a lawyer and then a prosecuting attorney so I can put the bad guys away, John answered.

     Ina asked a few more questions then said, Well, its been nice meeting you, Im sure we will get back to you soon with my fathers decision.  Its been nice meeting you. Abe said, Yes, we will talk soon, and shook hands with John.

     John left with a feeling that he had made a good impression, especially with the old man.  Ina seemed a little tough, a little reluctant to trust.  He felt Abe would be the one to make the final decision though, so John was quite pleased with himself.

     Meanwhile, back in the diamond exchange, Ina quizzed her father. What do you know about this boy? she asked curtly.  I know hes bright, ambitious, handsome and a good talker, Abe replied.  You will check his references, Ina responded in more of an order than a statement of fact.  The old man nodded his assent and walked slowly back to his office.

     As soon as John arrived back at his motel room, he phoned each of his references and confidently told them to soon expect a call from his future employer.  He told Mel about the recent death of Abes wife and the two concocted a tale that would surely put John in a good light with the old man.

     It just so happened Mel was the first reference Abe checked with.  Alamo City Delivery, where do you want it and when do you want it there? Mel said brightly as he answered the custom ring on the mobile phone John had given him.

     This is Abe Walstein, the jeweler began, Of the San Antonio Diamond Exchange.  Dont believe youve ever used us before, Mel interrupted. Uh, you havent, A former employee of yours listed Ben Hanson as a reference.  Is he in? Abe asked.

     Youre talkin to him, answered Mel. And who might that former employee be?  John Boucher, answered the old man.

     John, John Bouchers lookin for a job?  Why didnt he come back here?  Im lookin for some reliable help right now, Mel said.

     Why did you let him go in the first place, Abe asked, allowing Mel to set the hook that he had discussed with John earlier.  I didnt let him go, Mel explained, His mother became very ill and he quit so he could take care of her.  She passed away with cancer last year, you know, Mel said sadly.  I see, was all Abe could muster in response.

     Ben Hansen went on to answer a few of the old jewelers questions and it seemed that he said the right thing because the phone call only lasted a few minutes and at the end Abe thanked him profusely for the information.

     Walstein put the phone down and looked at the notes he had taken during his conversation with Ben Hansen.  Phrases like honest as the day is long, a quick learner, devoted son, and loyal employee jumped out at him. But the devoted son accolade was the important point to the sentimental old jeweler who had just lost his wife.  All the other laudatory information was just icing on the cake.

     The call to Pete Delgado elicited similar plaudits about the work habits and character of John Boucher.  So sure that the lad would be the best selection, that Abe decided to forego calling the third reference.

     Ina took a little persuading, but her father was able to convince her that he had made the right decision.  One particular point made by the Bexar Savings and Loan mail room supervisor was Johns honesty.  At one time, he said, John found a packet containing six thousand dollars that had been placed in his delivery pouch by mistake.  Instead of coming back from his distribution run to the other branches and keeping quiet about the money, John immediately reported it to Delgado.

     John was not surprised when he received a phone call from Abe that evening.  The old man informed him that the job was his for a wage of $7.50 an hour to start.  When asked  if he could start the next morning, John asked if his job would interfere with a 5:30 pm class he had on Tuesdays and Thursdays at San Antonio Community College.

     Abe told John that as long as all his classes were evening ones they could work around his schedule.  John asked a few perfunctory questions about a dress code, lunch hour, and pay day and then agreed to take the job and report the next day.

     The young chameleon who only had larceny in his heart was an excellent employee from the first day.  He truly was a quick study, mastering most of the procedures of the exchange by the end of that first short week.  His promptness was impressive as were his communication skills, especially his ability to make strangers comfortable.  Even suspicious Ina let her guard down a bit after a couple of weeks.

     John endeared himself further to the Walsteins by becoming Abes yardman after the one he had been using was sent to prison for theft.  It made the old man feel safer after finding out the criminal history of his other yardman of four years while watching the television news one night.

     Soon John was eating his Sunday meals at Abes house too.  So articulate and entertaining was the young man that he was invited to parties and was an instant hit among friends and associates of the San Antonio Diamond Exchange and the Walsteins.  Abe began considering John a surrogate son.

     Occasionally John would run into one of the Preppies on the street and invariably would be asked when the big hit was going to go down.  His stock answer was that he still needed to get some more information but truth was, he had the security pass code for the alarm system, the combinations of both the safe and the vault and he had even made copies of the keys to the front and back doors.

     John was in no hurry to hit the exchange though.  The main reason was that Abe kept telling Ina he was going to make a huge purchase of more than three million dollars worth of cut diamonds which would be used to fabricate her custom collection of fine jewelry.

     Weeks turned into months and then nearly a year before  Abe made good on his promise to Ina and when he did, it was in a big way.  Instead of three million dollars in value, he made a deal with a large jewelry company that was going out of business to buy its entire inventory of loose diamonds valued at 4.5 million for the three million he had set aside.

     John knew all the waiting worked for he was about to commit the biggest jewelry heist in history.  With the diamonds scheduled to be delivered by armed couriers in just seven days, he began making final preparations to consummate the job he had envisioned over a year earlier.  Then Ina threw a curve ball John didnt know how to hit.