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Neighbor allegedly tied up teen, shocked his ears with battery charger to get info on theft

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Robert McDowell

WICHITA, Kan. — A 15-year-old boy told police his older neighbor led him to a garage, pulled out a gun, tied him up, then used a battery charge to shock him, police said — all because the man was angry about his wallet being stolen.

Robert McDowell, 58, was in a Sedgwick County, Kansas, jail on Tuesday on aggravated battery to cause great bodily harm, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal threat charges in the incident, according to official booking details posted online. There was a $150,000 bond set for the kidnapping charge alone.

It was not immediately known which lawyer, if anyone yet, is representing McDowell.

Two days earlier, the teenager’s father called Wichita police to tell them his son had come home bloodied and with burned earlobes, police Lt. James Espinoza said.

The 15-year-old told an officer that a man who lives in his neighborhood had grabbed him and led him to a detached garage. Once there, the teen alleged that his ears were attached to a battery charger with clamps similar to jumper cables.

Espinoza, from the Wichita police, said that McDowell allegedly tied up and shocked the teen in hopes of getting information on an August incident in which his wallet was stolen.

The 58-year-old untied the boy and walked him home after the teen gave him names of people possibly involved, the police lieutenant said.