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Upon his eighth release from prison, 30-year-old cat burglar Peter Rayston immediately resumes his former way of life, plotting and executing a series of daring thefts that satisfy his need for excitement as much as his need for the spoils that support his expensive tastes. While on his way to inspect a heavily-insured house in Surrey, he gives a lift to attractive young Joanne and cultivates her friendship when he learns she lives in a country manor. He discovers that the house is an orphanage where she teaches art in order to support her 5-year-old illegitimate son. In addition, she has a job selling encyclopedias in London. Soon Peter has become emotionally involved with both her and her boy, Dan. Joanne eventually learns that Peter is a thief, and she breaks off their relationship though she loves him. She later reconsiders and invites Peter to a party at the orphanage; but Peter realizes that he could never change his way of life and drives off without saying goodby. As he plans his next burglary, the police follow a tip that leads them to the orphanage. Little Dan inadvertently supplies the clue to Peter's next scheduled "job," and the police arrive as the burglary is being executed. As a result, an old crony of Peter's falls to his death and a younger thief is apprehended. Though Peter flees from the scene, the police are not far behind.