Z.Z. Welz had been an employee of the phone company, but he was fired. He stole some equipment which he used to climb telephone poles and tap into phone lines. Using this equipment, he committed a series of obscene phone calls, mostly in the Edgeville area of Dick Tracy's jurisdiction. His victims included Gravel Gertie and Sparkle Plenty.
Welz had made the phone calls from several other locations around the city, including his own home. His pregnant wife was appalled by his behavior and planned to turn him over to the police. She armed himself with a handgun that he had gotten from his father Earl, and she confronted Tappy while he was up on a high telephone pole.
Tappy shot at his wife using a derringer pistol that he kept concealed on his person, but he missed. She shot back, killing him and dropping the gun in the grass at the base of the telephone pole. Welz's body (and the gun) were soon found by Vera Alldid, who was briefly suspected of the killing.
Police investigated Welz and learned about the circumstances of his death from his wife. There was sufficient evidence to show that she acted in self defense, and she was not charged. Welz's father then sought revenge on Welz's wife for Tappy's death.