This is the story of a knife, Boy Scout moms, stolen cars and redemption. But mainly, it’s the story of a knife.

It began a number of years ago, when I gave my friend Sandy a favorite knife. Nothing fancy, just a lock-blade Gerber. I love to give hard-working knives to people who will use them, and I think I passed this one to Sandy as a sort of thanks for all the time and energy she devoted to Cub Scouts. There may be no more powerful force in the universe than the mother of a Scout, and Sandy is one of those rare and remarkable people who continued to volunteer with other boys long after her own son had graduated from Cub Scout to Boy Scout.

Knives are a big part of scouting, so it seemed like giving the Gerber was appropriate. Indeed, Sandy used that knife often and enthusiastically, to slice cheese, cut cord, pick splinters out of her fingers and whittle hot-dog roasting sticks. She kept it in the glove compartment of her car, where it was accessible and deployable.

Sandy and I don’t talk as much these days as we did when we were both involved in scouting, but I got a funny phone message from her the other day. It started with a question.

“Remember that knife you gave me?

“Well, it helped solve a crime. My car was stolen the other week, and in the process of making a police report, I had to detail all the possessions that were in it at the time of the theft. I mentioned that Gerber knife to the police.

“Well, it turns out that another car was stolen, in Wolf Point. As police were investigating a suspect, they discovered that Gerber knife in his pocket, my knife. So they were able to link him to my stolen car, and then to the second stolen car. Your knife solved what appears to be a stolen-vehicle ring.”

I don’t know if the knife has been entered as evidence in this case, or if Sandy will get it back. But I imagine that before it leaves the judicial system, it will get plenty of use by cops, evidence curators, and maybe even a judge or two. Because, like a Cub Scout mom, a good knife just wants to work, even when it’s closed.