Jennifer got off the bus from the university and began walking towards the flat she shared with two other students. On her way she had to buy some food and stopped in one of the shops in the street. It was run by an Asian family, and although the prices there were a little higher than in the big supermarket further down the street, she did a lot of her shopping there. The vegetables were fresher and they had various things she couldn't get elsewhere. Mr Patel, the owner of the shop, was checking through a list, but smiled, as he always did, when he saw her come in.
She picked up a wire basket and walked towards the back of the shop, where the rice was kept: The shop was divided by three long aisles, with rows of shelves crammed with all sorts of things. Except for her and Mr Patel , there were only two other people there. They were two teenage boys, and they were standing at the end of one of the aisles.
She glanced at them as she passed. They were both wearing long, old-fashioned overcoats and they looked rather ridiculous in them because the coats were too big. But such things were popular with some teenagers at the time. 'Watch out, stupid,' she heard one of them whisper to the other. She walked on to the next aisle and found the rice she was looking for.
Then she heard something else. It sounded like a tin dropping on the floor. She peered through a gap in the shelf and caught a glimpse of one. of the boys bending down. She saw him pick up a tin of food. But instead of putting it in the shopping basket, he dropped it into the inside pocket of his long overcoat. Jennifer glanced back down the aisle. She could see Mr Patel at the cash till, still checking through his list.
Then she looked through the gap in the shelf again. The boys still had their backs to her. 'Come on, let's get out of here,' she heard one of them say. At the same time, she saw one of them put another tin in his overcoat pocket. They moved away from her. She could no longer see what they were doing or hear what they were saymg.
When she got to the till, the two boys were in front of her. She watched them pay for the few things they had in the basket. They had both buttoned their coats and fastened them with their belts. Mr Patel did not seem suspicious at all. He even smiled at them as they were about to leave. Jennifer opened her mouth to say something.
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