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Man convicted of stealing car from Southeast Baltimore with 2 children inside

A 38-year-old man with a history of vehicle thefts has been convicted of stealing a car from Southeast Baltimore that had the owner’s two young children inside, the State’s Attorney’s Office announced.

A Baltimore jury found John Bowling guilty Wednesday of two counts each of false imprisonment and reckless endangerment, as well as taking a motor vehicle, prosecutors said. At sentencing in October, he faces a maximum sentence of more than 50 years in prison.

The theft took place on Jan. 19. A woman had asked her niece to watch her car and left the keys in the ignition while unloading items at about 6 p.m. in the first block of N. Port St. Prosecutors said Bowling jumped into the vehicle and drove off. The woman’s 4-year-old boy and a 19-month-old boy were still inside.

Police briefly issued an Amber Alert, but soon after located the children unharmed nearby.

Prosecutors said police reviewed footage captured by a neighbor from the area where the theft took place that captured the initial moments of the crime. Bowling was also found on surveillance footage at a nearby business driving the stolen vehicle, they said.

Bowling has prior convictions related to vehicle thefts, court records show. He was charged with armed carjacking and convicted of unauthorized use of a vehicle in 2004, receiving two years in jail. He was charged with car theft in 2013, a case which was dropped, then convicted of car theft in 2015 and sentenced to six months in jail. He was sentenced to 18 months in a separate theft case also in 2015, records show.

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