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Police: Suspect Steals Artifacts, Crashes Into Cyclist During Getaway

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—A bizarre twist to the Annapolis case that nearly turned deadly after $68,000 in historic Civil War memorabilia was stolen.

Meghan McCorkell has more on how cops busted the suspect.

The man accused of stealing that memorabilia is now charged in a hit-and-run crash that nearly killed a bicyclist.

For 20 years, Jason Banis has been collecting cherished Civil War memorabilia.

“I had major dealers wanting to buy some of my stuff that I’d never let go,” Banis said.

But this summer his most prized possessions disappeared– $68,000 worth of artifacts stolen from his home.

“It’s a lifetime of collecting that’s now gone,” Banis said.

Police traced the theft to Jason Ryan Bowen, 30, a man Banis considered family.

Now a startling new revelation: police believe as Bowen tried to make his getaway along Forrest Drive in Annapolis, he hit a bicyclist with his car and then took off–leaving that man fighting for life.

When police found Bowen’s car, it had massive damage to the front windshield consistent with hitting a person.

Another big clue: the side mirror was missing from the suspect’s car— the same side mirror that was found at the hit-and-run scene.

“The mirror had blue tape on it, and that blue tape we were able to match up with the blue tape that was actually on the vehicle itself when it was located,” said Sgt. Kevin Krauss, Annapolis City Police.

“I had no idea about the hit-and-run. I knew his truck was wrecked. His van was wrecked,” Banis said.

While Banis worries about the family of that bicyclist, he’s also feeling a loss. His prized memorabilia has never been recovered.

That bicyclist was taken to the hospital in critical condition after the crash. He did survive and is out of the hospital.

Bowen has a history with law enforcement here in Maryland. He’s been convicted of theft at least twice.

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