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A gang of New York robbers loses $50,000 when Augie, one of its members, steals the cash and is then held up by a man with a trick umbrella and killed. Before dying, Augie had kicked the money, which was wrapped in some newspaper, into the street, however, and it is found by Sach and Slip Mahoney, two members of the Bowery Boys youth gang. Gabe Dell, their reporter friend, announces their find in the newspaper, and gang member Jack "Cold-Deck" Shapiro comes to Louie's Sweet Shop, a Bowery Boys hangout, to collect the money at gunpoint. Shapiro is poisoned by the man with the umbrella, but the money is not taken. Sach and Slip call the police, and the hot-tempered Lieutenant James Q. Broaderik interrogates them. Later Slip decides to give the money to charity, but the rest of the gang, hearing a radio news flash about the donation, scheme to get the money. The gang's ill-treated flunky, Tipper, turns informant and identifies the gang to the police as Benny, "The Meatball," Lullaby Schmo, Candy McGill and Lippy Harris. Meanwhile, Slip, Sach and their friends hide the money in their basement clubhouse, and are held up by Benny, who is then killed by the man with the umbrella. Again the money is not taken, and the boys split up in search of the killer. Candy and Lullaby pair up, intending to lure Slip to Candy's apartment, and Slip easily falls for her charms. Lippy arrives at Candy's first, however, and kills Lullaby, and when Slip and Candy arrive, Lippy demands the money. Slip then orders Sach to bring the money. Sach arrives with a rolled-up newspaper and hands it over to Lippy, who is killed outside the apartment. Gabe and Broaderik arrive with the boys, and Lullaby's dead body falls out of a closet. Although the killer absconded with the newspaper this time, Sach happily announces that it contains only his laundry, and that he has the money. Slip, afraid of the jinx that the money seems to hold, turns it over to Broaderik. The man with the umbrella turns out to be Tipper, who visits the boys's clubhouse and demands the money. Broaderick arrives in time to arrest him, and Gabe takes a photograph of Sach with the killer. Broaderik later reports that the money now belongs to Slip, who doles it out in Louie's Sweet Shop to agents of local charities. Louie is anxious to get the five dollars the boys owe him for malts, but Slip is forced to give the last $12,000 to Broaderik for taxes. On the street, Slip eyes a five-dollar bill on the pavement, but swears that money as the root of all evil. He then joins the boys in a dive for the money, but loses it to Louie.