Office of the State's Attorney for Baltimore City

For Immediate Release 1/10/2018

Southeast Baltimore— John Bowling was sentenced to 50 years, suspend all but 31 years, after being convicted of the false imprisonment of two children, aged 18-months and four years old. He was also found guilty of reckless endangerment and motor vehicle theft.

Assistant State’s Attorney Maryam Zhuravitsky prosecuted the case.

On January 19, 2017, police responded to the unit block of North Port Street for a report of a stolen vehicle with two children in the backseat. The vehicle’s owner stated that she placed her two young children—18 months and four years old— in the car then noticed that she had forgotten to gather diapers for the baby.

She asked her niece to watch her car and children so that she could retrieve the diapers. The woman was inside her home gathering the diapers, when her niece noticed a man enter her vehicle and drive off.

The police were called and the media was alerted of the car theft and the abducted children. As the events unfolded, authorities received a call that two residents—over a half of a mile away— had found the children along a sidewalk near an alley. Both children were uninjured. The vehicle owner was subsequently reunited with her children.

Members of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) 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 driving the stolen vehicle on surveillance footage from a nearby business. The witness testified to the fact in court.

“As a mother of two children, I cannot imagine the panic that set in when this mother realized her car had been stolen with her children in tow,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “Stealing a vehicle and endangering small children in the process is inexcusable, and I am overjoyed that we will able to deliver justice to this family.”