An Introduction to Candace Victoria Ryder

"I'm sorry. Did you say you forged my signature? Candace, how many times did you do this?" Dad was mad, and he had a right to be. I never should have done that.

"I only did this for the fieldtrips I really wanted to go on," I replied hoping I could use that as an answer.

"That doesn't answer the question," Mom stated as she stood in front of me. I wasn't going anywhere.

"Well, what do you want me to say? That it was the first time?"

"I'd like that to be the answer, yes, but that's not likely to happen. How many times?" he was annoyed that I had even tried to forged his signature in the first place.

"Fifteen," I made up a number. I really forged his name about forty times, I think.

"Really? Then why does this note say fifty?"


7. My First and Last Heists

February 18, 2006

I was so glad to finally be out of the house. The plane took me to Washington, D.C. where my first heist would take place. I had to pull off at least ten without getting caught on camera just to get Justin's attention. He was thought to be the world's best con, until I showed up as Kristen Williams.

Then I had to pull off another ten heists for him to even consider working with me.

May 3, 2006

Three months later, a letter came in the mail to one of my alias'. I wasn't going to use my undercover name. The local police wanted to arrest me. The FBI had no idea who was behind all of the thefts since I was never caught on camera as Kristen.

Since I was so far ahead in my education to begin with, Mr. Andrews let me graduate early. My official ceremony was a year later.

The letter was from Justin, who was also using an alias.

I never used my Kristen Williams alias unless I was pulling a heist, and no one would be able to recognize me. My face was totally different, I wore a blonde wig that had a black highlight, and a white fedora.

Once Justin and I started working together, I used beads and flowers to communicate. Justin was the only person I communicated with that way.

"One more thing, Candace. This is deep cover. Any contact you make with your family must be approved by me, and made on a satellite phone. No letters or e-mails. We can't have anyone tracking you down," Agent Thompson said, pulling me aside after explaining the rules of being under cover.

"And you can't use one of your own agents?" I asked questioning whether or not I should have taken the job.

Justin knew every name of every person that worked for the CIA. What he didn't know was that I was recruited three months ago.

"We'll be watching him. When we see that you're catching his attention, you'll pull a con on him."

"What will I steal?"

"The painting he has his eyes on, right now? It's a Monet. He can't get to it without the help of another con artist. That's where you come in," Agent Thompson replied.

"So this will just be practice until I start working with him?"

I was right. I was also informed that I would probably have to work with a man by the name of Michael Cortez. If I ever ran into them as one of my other alias', I'd have to pretend I never knew them.

I needed two more alias' to be a con artist. One that stole information, another that specialized in antique weapons, and Kristen Williams who specialized in forgery and art theft.

It felt like a long time after my first heist that I received a message from Justin. He was thoroughly impressed. I had stolen something that should have been impossible to steal.

You'd think that the Declaration of Independence would be more protected than it was. It was the real thing, but the lasers and sensors were turned off. Even the GPS locator was disarmed.

I had stolen the Declaration, an Egyptian Mummy, and one of the Monet's Justin had his eyes on. This was my first heist and I was never caught on camera.

I had to leave something behind, like a calling card. That's when I started to use the beads.

The FBI caught onto it real quick, they just didn't know what each bead meant. The CIA didn't know either because I was told not to trust anyone as long as I was undercover.

I had hated Justin with a passion, but grew to trust him more and more with each heist. Yet I never trusted him enough to tell him my real identity.

May 3, 2008

Two years went by before the last con I would ever pull with Justin occurred. During those two years, I did work with Michael Cortez.

Justin, Cortez, and I had stolen fifty million dollars in paintings and jewels. We sold everything on the black market. With my memory, I made a list of everything and gave it to the CIA when it was safe for me to do so.

Once we had the cash, Justin and I split, leaving Cortez with and his men with nothing.

We split the cash evenly, but while Justin was in another room, I marked the bills in a way that the only feds who would recognize them would be the CIA.

Justin wasn't likely to trust anyone, unless it was a kid, like me. I gained more trust in four months than anyone had been able to in five years.

Soon after I marked the bills, they were found. Justin was nowhere in sight.

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