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While drunk one night, juvenile delinquents Rick Braden, "Allie" wAllison and Bruce "Beejay" Phillips steal a car to go for a joyride. With Rick at the wheel, they pull into a drive-in where they harass well-mannered teenager Valerie Whitman and her date, Jerry Coltrin. After Jerry and Valerie drive away, the thugs follow and sideswipe their car, sending it crashing off the road. As Allie and Beejay beat up Jerry, Rick rips Valerie's dress and is about to rape her when a man driving a truck spots them and turns around. Jumping into their car, the thugs speed off and Allie pulls out the wallet he has stolen from Jerry. While the boys vie for the wallet, a pedestrian steps in front of their car and, preoccupied, Rick fails to see her and runs her down, then flees the scene. Meanwhile, Jerry drives Valerie home and notifies the police of the incident. When Det. Sgt. Fred Janusz comes to the house to take their statement, Valerie and Jerry tell him that they can only identify the driver. The next morning at police headquarters, the teenagers leaf through mug shots of juvenile offenders, but fail to find their assailant. Recalling that the driver mentioned South Side High, Jerry suggests looking through the school's yearbooks for a photograph of their assailant. As Valerie and Jerry proceed to the high school, Janusz learns that the stolen car has been found and taken to the crime lab. At the lab, the technician informs Janusz that the car has been wiped clean of fingerprints. Noticing a dent in the front bumper, Janusz asks the technician to run special tests to determine what caused it. After Jerry and Valerie identify Rick's picture in the yearbook, Janusz goes to interview Rick's mother, who swears that her son is an upstanding citizen. Once the sergeant leaves, Mrs. Braden phones Rick at work to warn him that Janusz is coming to question him. Rick immediately contacts Allie and Beejay, who assures him that his uncle, Lewis J. Christopher, will provide them with an alibi location on the night of the car theft, Rick swears that he was playing penny ante poker with his friends at Lew's house, and states that he won a few dollars. Janusz then proceeds to the Christopher house where Lew confirms Rick's story. However, Janusz senses something amiss when Lew boasts that he beat Rick at poker. Realizing that the teenagers they sideswiped must have identified them, Rick, Allie and Beejay look through Jerry's wallet and find his address, along with a signed photo of Valerie. When the lab tests of the car's bumper reveal microscopic traces of blood that matches that of the hit-and-run victim, Janusz asks Jerry and Valerie to come to police headquarters the following day to identify Rick in a lineup. That night, Rick comes to the Coltrin house looking for Jerry, and Jerry's unsuspecting parents direct him to Valerie's house, where Jerry has gone to deliver some study materials. Valerie is at a girl's club dinner, and as Jerry is about to leave, Rick and his friends break into the Whitmans' house, slug Jerry and, while holding a knife to Mr. Whitman's throat, order Jerry to tell the police that Rick was not his attacker. The next day at the lineup, Janusz is incredulous when Jerry and Valerie recant their statement and swear that Rick was not the man driving the car. Once Rick is freed, he drives to Valerie's high school and after sexually menacing her, warns her that Jerry will come to harm unless she does as he wants. Later, the terrified Jerry and Valerie admit to Janusz that they lied. Janusz replies that it is too late, because their testimony would be thrown out of court because it contradicted their previous statement. When Valerie informs Janusz that her parents plan to take her to their cabin at Pine Haven the following afternoon, Janusz asks her and Jerry to come to his office in the morning to see if they can identify the voices of Allie and Beejay, whom he plans to bring in for questioning. After the teens are unable to identify the voices, Valerie suggests setting a trap for Rick, and Janusz decides to use Allie to plant the bait. He then phones the officer stationed in Allie's interrogation room and asks him to make sure that Allie overhears their conversation about the Whitmans driving to their cabin that afternoon. Janusz then enters the interrogation room and informs Allie that Valerie has agreed to testify against Rick. After instructing the desk officer to hold Allie and Beejay until 2 p.m., the time at which the Whitmans will be safely ensconced in their cabin, Janusz leaves town with Jerry to drive to Pine Haven. Soon after they leave, Lew shows up and demands that the police release his nephew. The officer complies, discharging the boys at 12:30. Upon arriving at Pine Haven, the Whitmans, unaware of their daughter's involvement in the plan to trap Rick, leave Valerie alone in the cabin while they drive into town for supplies. Shortly after they leave, Rick and his friends arrive and break into the cabin. When Valerie grabs the shotgun from the fireplace mantle, Beejay taunts her that it is empty and disarms her. Desperate, Valerie bashes Rick in the head with a flashlight. Infuriated, Rick unsheathes his switchblade just as Janusz, Jerry and a local officer pull up at the cabin. Instructing Jerry to drive the car back down the road, Janusz and the officer confront Rick, who loads the shotgun, aims it at the police officers and orders them to drop their weapons. Just then, the Whitmans arrive and as they watch in horror, Rick and Beejay take Valerie hostage and shove her into their car. Watching from the bushes, Jerry lunges at Rick, after which Janusz springs into action to restrain Allie. After Jerry thrashes Rick, Janusz arrests the delinquents and praises Valerie and Jerry for being good citizens.