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In New York, Slip Mahoney and his Bowery Boys friends, Horace Debussy "Sach" Jones, Whitey, Butch and Chuck, are on their way home from a costume party when they discover a robbery taking place at a warehouse. They try to apprehend the gang of crooks, which includes an elderly woman, but the criminals escape just before the police arrive, and Slip and the boys are arrested instead. Meanwhile, the boys' old friend, lawyer Gabe Moreno, is complaining to his secretary about his lack of cases when he receives a call from his friend, Louie Dumbrowsky, who asks Gabe to meet him at the county jail. At the jail, Gabe tells Slip and the boys that Louie has arranged their bail, using his sweet shop as collateral. The next day, at Louie's sweet shop, the boys turn on the radio and hear a broadcast from the state penitentiary, during which a reporter interviews a gravel-voiced inmate named Bat Armstrong. Whitey tells his friends that his insomnia kept him up the other night, and while he was listening to his ham radio, he heard a short-wave message giving directions to the warehouse where the robbery occurred. Later, Whitey excitedly comes into the sweet shop bearing a newspaper article describing a chemical plant robbery, and claims he heard a message about it on his ham radio the previous night. The article notes that a witness saw an elderly woman leave the building, and Slip concludes that the crime was the work of the same gang that robbed the warehouse. Late in the night, Slip and Whitey intercept a short-wave radio transmission about a fur company, and they recognize the voice as Bat's. When the boys go before the judge at their preliminary hearing, Slip pleads guilty and is given probation, but insists that he and Sach go to jail. Meanwhile, at the state penitentiary, Bat hears that two notorious criminals from Detroit, Pretty Boy Gleason and Benny the Blood, will be arriving that day. However, Warden Burnside receives word that the two crooks have been granted a last-minute appeal and will be held at county jail. When Slip and Sach arrive at the penitentiary, the other inmates greet them warmly as Pretty Boy and Benny, and they are put in a cell with Skeets O'Neil and Hobo Barton. In the prison yard, Bat, Hobo and Skeets ask Slip and Sach if they had any robberies planned before they were arrested, and Sach mentions Louie's safe, inadvertently giving Bat the impression that it contains a fortune. That night, Whitey intercepts a message from Bat about robbing Louie's sweet shop, and early in the morning, the old woman and two crooks break in and force Louie to open the safe. The next day, the real Pretty Boy and Benny are brought to the penitentiary, and Bat grimly tells Slip that the sweet shop robbery netted only seventy-five dollars, adding that his outside accomplice is his mother. Whitey intercepts another message that night, in which Bat says he is leaving tomorrow and requests transportation for six. Louie and the boys go to the prison to alert the warden about the breakout, and Bat and his gang are captured by the guards as they approach Ma Armstrong's car. Later, at the sweet shop, Slip produces a letter of commendation from the governor and congratulates Whitey.