Kalamazoo Man Edward Oneal Bowen Pleads Guilty to String of Armed Robberies
GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Edward Oneal Bowen, 48, of Kalamazoo, pled guilty in federal court on December 18 to three counts of armed credit union robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced today. He faces up to 25 years in federal prison for each count of armed robbery, and a mandatory consecutive sentence of at least seven years up to life in prison for the firearms charge. He will be sentenced in April 2016 by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker.
On May 5, 2014, Bowen robbed the Preferred Credit Union in Kalamazoo of approximately $6,200. On June 18, 2014, he robbed the Preferred Credit Union again, making off with approximately $6,400, but leaving behind an orange juice cup and straw smelling of alcohol. On July 8, 2014, he robbed the Kellogg Community Federal Credit Union in Kalamazoo, forcing the employees to access the vault, stealing approximately $41,000, and locking the employees in a utility closet. During each robbery, Bowen wore a wig and brandished a handgun. He was able to escape after each robbery.
Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers solved the robberies by obtaining a DNA sample from the straw left behind at the scene of the second Preferred Credit Union robbery. Surveillance photos from that robbery showed the suspect holding the cup in his left hand while pointing a gun at employees with his right hand. Witnesses said the suspect had the straw from the cup in his mouth at the start of the robbery. The DNA profile from the straw matched a DNA profile of Bowen contained in the Combined DNA Index System (“CODIS”). Bowen’s DNA profile was in CODIS because a sample was taken from him after a 1996 conviction for assault with intent to commit murder. Officers also obtained a fingerprint match from the cup Bowen left behind.
The case was investigated by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Stiffler and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Russ Kavalhuna.