Joe Friday and partner Frank Smith are working the Juvenile Department. They respond to a report of petty theft from a school store room.
The school principle suspects a student, or a former student of the robbery, but she isn’t certain of any particular person. She shares some of the environment and social situation of students in the school. Besides the robbery, there is some vandalism in the cafeteria. Is the events done by an organized body, individuals acting alone, or is there some kind of statement trying to be made? Thats why they pay Joe the big bucks.
Friday manages to catch a teenager in the act of breaking a window, and interviews him to see what else he can learn. The kid has a complex over how he looks. Fat and ugly, and the teachers hate him, all the guys pick on him. Hmm… does that sound familiar to all you teens and parents of teens out there?
Friday does what he can to get the kid help. When Friday meets the disfuntional dad it’s a little more clear why this kid has such a complex. After offering some counseling to the dad, Friday recovers the stolen goods.
The school was nice enough to give the kid some probation. Time goes by, and the kid fits the description of a criminal who was behind a robbery and shooting. The victim gets away with a minor injury, but the crime is a serious one. Friday is concerned about the neglected teen with low self esteem, and checks with the dad. Questioning turns up more reason to lay blame on the kid.
Joe and Frank talk to the kid again after he admits to the crime. They want to get to the bottom of his motivation, which exposes his unhappy home life. At least this kid got care and psychiatric help before he melted down and caused a scene with a high school shoot out.