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When socially prominent Joe Taylor discovers that his automobile tires have been stolen, he despairs of finding more because of wartime rubber shortages. Then Joe's friend, Harry Bronson, gives him the telephone number of a tire bootlegger, and a short time later, Joe receives four new tires. After the tires are installed, Joe and his girl friend, Molly Stevens, race Harry and his girl friend, Hazel Dale, to a nightclub. During the race, Joe and Molly are killed when one of the new tires has a blow out, causing the car to swerve over a cliff. Joe's father, a newspaper publisher, insists on an investigation, and police detective Pat Harrigan is assigned to the case. Pat lives with Mrs. Kelly and her daughter Kitty, who took in Pat and his brother Mike when they were young. Kitty is in love with Mike, who has become a petty gangster. Pat's examination of the tire reveals that it consists of a thin layer of new tread attached to an old tire. After Hazel tells Pat about the events of the previous night, Pat sets a trap for the racketeers. Two of the men are arrested on manslaughter charges, but another escapes and carries the news of the arrest to the head of the racket, police captain Charlie Butler. Meanwhile, at home, Pat finds Mike visiting Kitty. Pat suspects that his brother might be involved in the racket and advises him to get out if he can. Mike denies that he is involved, but later, in a meeting with his confederates, unsuccessfully tries to leave. After the arrested men are indicted, Pat asks for police protection for his witnesses, Harry and Hazel. After obtaining inside information, Butler telephones their location to gunman Joe Genna, who plants a bomb in their car. In order to discover the head of the racketeers, the chief of police pretends to dismiss Pat from the force. Then later, when Pat is tipped off about a rubber robbery, he accepts a payoff to release the thieves and is invited to join the gang. Suspicious, Genna follows Pat and witnesses his meeting with the chief. Meanwhile, Pat learns that Butler is the head of the racketeers. When Genna privately reveals Pat's betrayal to Butler, Butler takes Pat to the tire plant, where he plans to kill him. After they leave, Mike learns of Butler's plans and races to the plant. There he kills Butler and is himself wounded. After telling Pat to take care of Kitty, Mike dies in his brother's arms.