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There has been a jailbreak in my (imaginary) town. And I, a Junior Detective of the town, have gone to investigate this. As I reach the police station, an inspector comes out to greet me. No doubt he has already received my fax.

As I search the holding cell, I find a loose brick below the bed. I roll out a piece of paper with obscure writing as I think, "Typical robbers. Couldn't find a better place to hide a piece of paper."

The paper has some writing on it as given below.

Dear friend,

I have waited for 2 weeks to come out of hiding. A g.reat coincidence I vi.sited your house only to find out that you had b.een arres.ted by the local po.lice for thievery. I told you to be careful to cover your tracks. Never mind. I foun.d out (after exte.nsive research) that the thing we are after is ex.tremely rare. Only about 19 in the world. It would be rather difficult to track one down. Anyway, I have heard rumours about one and I bet that my sources are correct to the letter.

The Deputy-Insp.ector will deliver a l.etter to. you in secr.e.t on Thur.sday, the 29th. It will contain all the details. If you don't remember what I am talking about, read the letter again.

"The 29th sir? That's odd. The thief escaped just the next day sir." I had not realized that the Inspector was standing behind me. I rounded on him with such a fierce glare that he hurried out of the cell as fast as legs could carry him. I don't like people interrupting my thoughts.

I take my time looking around the cell, examining things I think might be related to the whereabouts of the thief.

I also take a closer look at the ventilation window of the cell, to find the following numbers written with a marker on the glass.

33 20 36 20 2e 20 31 20 35 20 35 20 32 20 b0 20 20 20 4e 20 2c 20 20 20 38 20 36 20 2e 20 37 20 38 20 32 20 36 20 b0 20 20 20 57

It's very clear to me where the thief and (hopefully) his companion will go.

  • Can you figure out What are they trying to steal? and Where are they going next?
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First, making sense of the letter:

If you take the letters just before the weirdly marked periods in the letter, then it will spell out "GIBSON EXPLORER". This is a type of electric guitar, with its most valuable model being priced between 250,000 and 300,000 US dollars. So, this would be the target of the thieves.

Secondly, making sense of the numbers on the glass:

This is using the extended ASCII coding, so if we convert the hexadecimal characters to their respective characters using an ASCII lookup table, we get 36.1552 °N, 86.7826 °W. Searching for these coordinates on google maps gives us the location of Cummins Station, located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. This would be the location where the thieves are going next. Specifically, as the OP has revealed, they would be going to the Gibson Headquarters located in Cummins Station.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice! You beat (the imaginary, detective) me to the answer! Also the coordinates that I included as the answer to the numbers on the glass happen to be the coordinates of the Gibson Headquarters. Though why Google Maps would show something different, is interesting. $\endgroup$ Mar 1 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Infinity Ah ok, I missed that I guess. I will add it in $\endgroup$
    – Alaiko
    Mar 1 at 15:54
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While I felt that @Alaiko had given a decent answer, I thought I might add some more details.

We will first have a look at the letter, since it is the first clue we get about the thieves.

Dear friend,

I have waited for 2 weeks to come out of hiding. A g.reat coincidence I vi.sited your house only to find out that you had b.een arres.ted by the local po.lice for thievery. I told you to be careful to cover your tracks. Never mind. I foun.d out (after exte.nsive research) that the thing we are after is ex.tremely rare. Only about 19 in the world. It would be rather difficult to track one down. Anyway, I have heard rumours about one and I bet that my sources are correct to the letter.

The Deputy-Insp.ector will deliver a l.etter to. you in secr.e.t on Thur.sday, the 29th. It will contain all the details. If you don't remember what I am talking about, read the letter again.

If one reads the letter carefully,

They will se that some words have periods somewhere in between them. The list of the words marked such are as follows - g.reat (great), vi.sited (visited), b.een (been), arres.ted (arrested), po.lice (police), foun.d (found), exte.nsive (extensive), ex.tremely (extremely), Insp.ector (Inspector), l.etter (letter), to. (to), secr.e.t (secret), Thur.sday (Thursday)

Extracting the letters just before the

periods in the above words,

Will give us the following letter-sequence -

g-i-b-s-o-n-e-x-p-l-o-r-e-r

Which can also be written as -

Gibson Explorer - There are only 19 of them in the world as the letter mentions. And, they are super-rare and super expensive. This is the perfect object that could make them rich.


Next, we will focus on the numbers and letters that were found on the glass.

33 20 36 20 2e 20 31 20 35 20 35 20 32 20 b0 20 20 20 4e 20 2c 20 20 20 38 20 36 20 2e 20 37 20 38 20 32 20 36 20 b0 20 20 20 57

This sequence, as many people will recognise, is -

Hex, with ASCII encoding.

Decoding the sequence gives us the following result -

3 6 . 1 5 5 2 ° N , 8 6 . 7 8 2 6 ° W

It seems that there is some 'noise' in the code, so let's remove the extra spaces. This will give us -

36.1552° N, 86.7826° W

The sequence above are coordinates. In fact, they are

the coordinates to the Gibson Headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, USA!

Now, let's answer the two questions asked :-

  • What are they trying to steal?

They are trying to steal a rare guitar known as the Gibson Explorer.

  • Where are they going next?

They are going to the Gibson Headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

DISCLAIMER : This answer is only to explain in-depth, how this answer can be solved. I will not accept this answer because @Alaiko has rightfully answered it first.

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