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Indiana man charged with stealing rare comic books from C2E2 vendors

A couple attends Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo in 2015. This weekend at the convention in McCormick Place, an Indiana man was charged with swiping thousands of dollars worth of rare comic books. | James Foster/File photo for Sun-Times Media

An Indiana man was ordered held on $10,000 bail Sunday after he was charged with stealing rare comic books from vendors at this weekend’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo at McCormick Place.

Stephen Bowles, 51, of Remington, Ind., was charged with three felony counts of theft for stealing over $9,000 in comics from three vendors on Saturday, according to Chicago police and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Stephen Bowles | Chicago police
Stephen Bowles | Chicago police

During his bail hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, Judge Stephanie K. Miller ordered Bowles held at the Cook County Jail until he can post an $1,000 bond. Bowles, who was represented by a public defender, spoke only to correct Miller on the pronunciation of his last name.

Prosecutors said one of the vendors caught Bowles on a camera he set up to monitor sales. After noticing Bowles “acting suspiciously,” the vendor reviewed the footage that showed Bowles swiping comics from multiple booths, according to prosecutors.

About 5:15 p.m., the vendor alerted a Chicago cop and Bowles was taken into custody, authorities said.

Bowles was found with some of the comic books that had been reported stolen but not all of them, prosecutors said. One of the vendors reported $4,500 worth of comics had been stolen, while another tallied $3,500 in losses and a third valued their losses at $1,200, authorities said.

Bowles, a retired mechanic who was charged with a misdemeanor count of theft in 2015, admitted to stealing the comic books after he was arrested, prosecutors said.

Miller said she would allow Bowles to return to Indiana to live with his wife and two children if he’s able to post the necessary bond. However, she warned that a warrant would be issued for his arrest if he fails to show up at any future court hearings.

His next court date was set for Friday.