Chapter 11 – Stolen Goods
The story continues and does nothing to pick up on the cliffhanger from the last chapter about Chet’s curiosity leading him into trouble. Instead, the boys and Dalrymple again head out to the Purdy place to look around for more clues. Dalrymple just can’t seem to drop the case and wait for Mr. Hardy to return and take over.
When they get to the estate, the check the secret room and find nothing amiss. The decide to survey the rest of the house and Dalrymple says he hasn’t really looked it over since buying it. Frank suggests that maybe some crooks have been using the place as a hideout since the house was vacant for a prolonged period before Dalrymple bought it.
As they search, the come across two locked rooms in one wing of the house. Dalrymple insists that when he last came to those rooms they were wide open and empty. The boys discover that the locks on the doors are newly installed! The boys want to break down the doors, but Dalrymple calls the police instead and Detective Smuff arrives with a set of skeleton keys. Upon opening the room, they discover a cache of stolen goods! Indeed, it seems that river thieves have been using the house as a hideout and loot locker! Smuff in pleased that he will get credit for the break, causing the Hardys to roll their eyes.
Dalrymple feels the case has been solved, but the Hardy boys get the feeling that the threatening notes are not part of the stolen goods scheme.
As the loot is being trucked out, Frank and Joe explore the grounds a bit noting that the property borders the river in the back, making it an easy location to stash goods from the river. While in the back of the property they also discover tire tracks. Following them they uncover a camouflaged secret road that leads out to the Shore Road! The river thieves must use the road to get away unobserved. The Hardy boys decide not to share this discovery with the police, hoping they might be the ones to catch the thieves when they return.
The Hardys really don’t like the police force and greedily want to remove them from the case and get the credit themselves.