This is the 131st episode of the 283 episode run, Police Detective series, DRAGNET. This series ran from 1951 to 59.
Sgt Joe Friday (Jack Webb) and Detective Frank Smith (Ben Alexander) are working the day watch out of Bunco Division. A local pawn shop owner, Mel Ford, comes in with some information for the boys.
A man, James Stone, had been in his shop early the night before seeking the value on an emerald ring. Ford had looked at the ring and told Stone it was a simple cut glass job, not an emerald. Stone had become rather loud and had called Ford more than a few names. Once Stone had calmed down, he tried to buy a pistol. Ford said no and sent him on his name.
Ford had called on Webb and Alexander because he figures that Stone wanted to kill himself, or whoever sold him the bum ring. Ford had taken done the man's license number. A quick check (for 1955 that is) is done of the license division and an address and name pop up. Webb and Alexander grab a prowl car and pay the address a visit.
What they find is a very worried woman, Lillian Powell. Powell's husband, Stone had not come home the night before and she was concerned. The Police showing up at the door, does not ease her worries. Webb asks some routine questions and tells Powell they will find her husband. Sure enough, some uniform boys find Stone just sitting in his car.
The Detectives have the man brought to the station. Stone tells the Detectives he was taken for all his saving by some con men. He had been bait and switched out of $1500 bucks. He thought he was buying a $7000 ring. The mug books are brought out and two men quickly identified. The two, Don Barry and Jay Lawrence are soon rounded up and thrown in a cell.
Webb and Alexander lay on a heavy dose of the old face to face third degree, but get nothing. It turns out there was a third man involved in the swindle and an all points goes out. This however leads to a body found at a car wreck on the LA freeway.
The pair, Barry and Lawrence, are soon taken in front of a judge. The judge tosses the case for lack of evidence. Oh well, you can't win them all. But then again, maybe, Barry and Lawrence are pinched 4 months later pulling the same scam. This time they get time in jail. (b/w)
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