Police in Chicago have arrested 51-year-old Stephen Bowles of Remington, Indiana and charged him with three felony counts of theft of rare comics from Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo last weekend. According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, Bowles was allegedly captured on camera stealing rare comics from three exhibitors at the show valued at $4500, $3500, and $1200 respectively. Bowles was reportedly found in possession of some of the comics and admitted to the thefts.
Comic book theft is an ongoing problem. Bowles’ arrest follows the arrest last week of David Garcia for the theft of thousands of dollars of comics in Modesto, California, though police are still searching for an accomplice. At last year’s New York Comic Con, comic creator Erik Larsen reported the theft of original artwork from his booth, and in August of 2018, Texas man Marcus Alan Benner was arrested and confessed to the theft of over $100,000 in comics from a store in Wichita Falls. A Massachusetts store reported the theft of $20,000 in comics in November of 2017, while the month prior, Francesco Bove was arrested for allegedly stealing over $250,000 worth of art from the home of Marvel Comics Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada. Perhaps the craziest claims of comic-related theft comes from Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter, who accused rival billionaire Harold Peerenboom of stealing his DNA. The highest-value comics theft in recent memory, however, if you don’t count Perlmutter’s DNA, was the theft of $1.4 million in comics in Florida, for which Phillip Weisbauer was arrested back in January.
Bowles will be allowed to return home to his family in Indiana if he can pay $1000, 10% of the total $10,000 bail, but must return to Chicago for his next court date on Friday.