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Mr. Sweeney (first name unrevealed) was a hobby shop owner in Dick Tracy's city. He was an older man with dark wavy hair that was streaked with grey. He had a large, pointed nose.

Mr. Sweeney's hobby shop lost business when a competing shop opened in the city's nearby shopping mall. Eventually, Sweeney's shop closed and he went to work for the competing store. Making only minimum wage, Sweeney found it difficult to support his wife and son. He began to drink heavily.

The Phantom of the Mall[]

Sweeney blamed the shopping mall for his financial troubles. He eventually decided to seek revenge against the mall and its patrons. He abandoned his family and began living on the shopping mall's premises. He engaged in minor acts of sabotage, such as calling in a false report of criminal activity to the police, and setting off the fire suppression system. His son Lug had taken a part-time job as a janitor at the mall and was suspected of these crimes, unbeknownst to Sweeney.

Sweeney rigged a pinball machine to deliver a powerful electric shock to its player, which ended up being Joe Tracy. Lug saved Joe, but was still a suspect. Lug went into hiding, and was eventually hospitalized after being struck by a car while attempting to evade capture. Mr. Sweeney decided to continue his actions, believing that Lug would no longer be a suspect if the sabotage took place while he was in the hospital.

Mr. Sweeney prepared to tamper with an escalator in the mall, but decided against it when he considered the serious harm that it would cause. Sweeney was unaware that his actions had inspired the criminal called Smokes to copy his sabotage in an effort to drive business to a new mall that Smokes was building. Smokes and his men damaged the escalator, which then mangled a shopper and caused her foot to require amputation.

Prisoner of Smokes[]

Sweeney planned further sabotage but was discovered by Smokes, who abducted him. Sweeney was held in seclusion until Smokes decided to frame him for additional acts of sabotage that had resulted in multiple deaths. Smokes taped guns to Sweeney's hands and pushed him out of a car in front of police headquarters, intending that Sweeney would be shot by police officers.

Smokes was saved by the intervention of his son, who had arrived to turn himself in. Lug placed himself between Sweeney and the police, this diffusing the situation with no fatalities. Sweeney explained to Dick Tracy what had happened to him, and Tracy believed him.

Tracy, Sweeney, Lug, and Lug's girlfriend Penny Bank then went to the new shopping mall, intending to arrest Smokes. However, Smokes had accidentally set the mall on fire, and he was presumed killed in the blaze. Sweeney was apparently not charged for his sabotage, and he planned to re-open his hobby shop with Lug and Penny working for him.


  • Mr. Sweeney's appearance varies significantly throughout the storyline in which he appears, both the present day strips and in the flashbacks.
  • At the conclusion of the Smokes storyline, it was stated that Mr. Sweeney would be opening a new hobby shop. It was not clear if this meant that he would re-open his original shop, take over operation of the shop in the abandoned mall, or open at an all-new location. In any case, he apparently did not face any criminal charges for his various acts of sabotage, criminal mischief, property damage, or reckless endangerment.