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Rob Lee Bowman

Firearms-for wheels swap ends in arrest

What seemed to be a simple exchange of wheels for firearms over the weekend in east Medford led to the arrest of one man, while another was cited by police.

A 28-year-old Yreka, California, man became suspicious that the shotgun and revolver he acquired in a trade for a set of Fuel-brand wheels might have a history of their own.

He was right, authorities say.

Concerned that neither Rob Lee Bowman, 60, nor Aaron R. Snyder, 36, both of Medford, responded to his follow-up request to fill out paperwork for the exchange, the Yreka man contacted local law enforcement authorities. Police ran the serial numbers for the Mossberg 500 Tactical shotgun and Taurus .38-caliber revolver and found the shotgun had been stolen in Marion County, in the northern Willamette Valley, police said.

Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said Snyder and the Yreka resident connected through social media and agreed to meet at the 3000 block of Sheraton Court, off Delta Waters Road, on Oct. 31. Snyder described himself as a pawn shop operator who had many things to trade for the wheels, including firearms, guitars and electronics. The Californian was met by an older male outside the residence who identified himself as “Ken” and said he preferred not to give out his last name, Budreau said.

He offered a shotgun and revolver that had been in the back of his 1998 Chevy Tahoe. Neither firearm appeared to have been used much, Budreau said. The Californian suggested going to Good Guys Guns on Crater Lake Avenue, but “Ken,” who was actually Bowman, told him his son was at work and could meet him later, if he was satisfied with the trade, according to police.

But neither Medford resident responded to the Yreka man’s efforts to contact them.

“That was a red flag for him, when they were no longer to contact him,” Budreau said.

The Californian had a photo of the Tahoe, which was registered to Bowman at the Sheraton Court address, police said. He was arrested Sunday on charges of unlawful transfer of firearms and a felon in possession of a weapon, booked into the Jackson County Jail, and later released because of overcrowding.

Snyder was cited on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

“We were able to get the wheels back from Snyder,” Budreau said.

It was unclear whether there was a direct connection to the Marion County theft.

Jackson County Circuit Court records show that Snyder has prior felony aggravated theft and theft convictions from 2015 stemming from multiple metal and fuel theft incidents.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or gstiles@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GregMTBusiness or www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

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