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Ex-worker cites hunger for tire shop theft spree

A Fort Wayne man’s need to eat prompted him to burglarize in December and January the tire shop where he used to work, according to newly released court documents.

His burglaries also caused the tire shop to keep installing new surveillance cameras to catch him.

On Friday, prosecutors formally charged Rodney A. Bowman, 35, with four counts of burglary and one count of receiving stolen property. Bowman is accused of burglarizing Sparks Commercial Tire on U.S. 30 just west of Fort Wayne at least twice in late December and two more times early this month.

After each burglary, more cameras were installed at Sparks, according to court documents, that clearly captured Bowman taking tires, tools and other items.

Each time he went to Sparks, Bowman drove his red truck and wore one of several hooded sweatshirts with a checkered coat and green hat, he told police.

He said his “game plan” was to “grab junk wheels”; he later progressed to stealing a computer, a lockbox with $200 inside and several other items, court records said. When questioned by police, Bowman said in court documents: “I did all this because I needed to eat.”

He also acknowledged being fired from Sparks previously for stealing from the company, court records said. Bowman was being held in lieu of $42,500 bail.

Julie Crothers of The Journal Gazette contributed to this story.