Working the Auto Theft detail, Joe Friday and Frank Smith are on the case to stop the crime spree. Joe and Frank talk with a mechanic friend who is an ex-con, and an informant to see what he may know about the missing cars. They get some details about the technique that is being used, and general info on how the operation works. Whitey doesn’t have much on the players involved though.
Friday reviews the case, and tells a little about the string of missing cars over the past to weeks. Suddenly, the man named Tops who they were looking for comes into Whitey’s shop, and the cops go to talk to him. He fits the profile of a car theif, but is he their man? Tops tells a story of how he overheard some heavies in a bar talking about cars, and when he got too nosey they put the pressure on him to keep quiet.
More time passes before Friday gets another hot tip. A man comes in claiming that he thinks he just bought a stolen car. He tells why he thought it might be stolen, and when Frank comes back in, he confirms the car was stolen. The clue sets Friday on the trail and he questions the owner of a car lot. He has an unusual request when he agrees to go in to the station to look at mugshots. He wants to be seen taken around in a black and white police car for the dramatic affect.
Soon Friday has a man who forges checks, but how does he tie in with the car theives? It seems that he also did work to forge car titles, and he is all too helpful to turn in his partners in crime.