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A rash of bank robberies plague the Los Angeles area, topped by the jailhouse murder of one of the robbers, Bug O'Hern. Alan O'Connor, an investigator for the Department of Justice, complains to Inspector J. C. Macy that O'Hern should never have been arrested, as he could have lead them to the entire operation. Alan goes to the Grand Central Air Terminal with his assistant, Bobbie Reynolds, to pick up his sister Kay. Kay has a new love on her shoulder, would-be screenwriter Jerry Turner. The quartet is joined by klutzy newspaper photographer Bulb, an old friend of Alan and Bobbie. At the Club Karlotti, Jerry excuses himself from the group to make a phone call, but instead slips into the back room to meet with club owner, Joe Karlotti, leader of the bank robbers. Jerry has come from the East to help with the robbery of a $40,000 Works Progress Administration payroll in Lone City, Nevada. Posing as a tramps, Jerry and fellow crook Barney get arrested, then steal the payroll while the town sheriff sleeps. After the robbery, Alan arrives and traces the two to the Happy Rest Auto Camp, where he gets their car's license number and finds a matchbook from the Club Karlotti. At the Second National Bank, Karlotti makes a large deposit with chief teller Leon Curtis. Moments later, Jerry and the gang successfully rob the bank. The getaway Cadillac is found at a farm whose owner, Grimes, describes the robbers in detail. Back at the police station, Alan and Bobbie discover that the described driver, a short man, could not possibly have driven the car. Alan sends Bobbie, posing as a reporter, back to the farm to get more evidence. Back at the Second National Bank, Alan meets with bank president J. C. Harrington, and discovers that the bank's alarm system had been unknowingly dismantled the day before. Overman, the head bookkeeper, claims he could identify the phony repairman. Bobbie rescues Bulb from his moonlighting job as a private detective and takes him out to the farm with her. They discover large tire tracks and another matchbook from the Club Karlotti. Alan receives a call from Macy instructing him to go to Macy's office at 9:00 P.M. for information that will crack the case. Alan arrives to hear gunshots and find both Macy and Overman dead. In Overman's pocket, Alan finds $50 bills with identical serial numbers. Discovering that Alan has the incriminating bills, Jerry calls him, threatening Kay. Alan has Kay stay at Bobbie's apartment with Bulb, but after she calls Jerry, she is kidnapped. Alan discovers that Curtis is a master engraver. Just steps ahead of Alan, Curtis goes to Karlotti, who decides to leave for Vancouver. Bobbie gets a job with Karlotti as his press agent and leaves with him, telling Bulb her whereabouts. Realizing they are going to the farm first, Alan and company take off in pursuit. Karlotti leaves Bobbie at a hotel, then goes to the farm and picks up his share of the money. Just after he leaves, Alan and the police arrive. In the shootout, Alan saves Kay and captures Jerry. Alan and Kay jump into his car to save Bobbie. Karlotti arrives at the hotel just in time to hear Bobbie talking about Alan. He knocks out Bulb and is just about to shoot Bobbie when Alan arrives, killing him. Back at the police station, Bulb tries to take a photograph of Alan and Bobbie kissing, but the other reporters break in, grabbing the scoop themselves and knocking Bulb and his camera to the floor once more.