Tell-tale bruises make Benton man suspect

Friday, April 28, 2006

A "career criminal" was charged Thursday in the robbery of a Scott County gas station.

A $1 million bond was set for Robert L. Bom, 44, of rural Benton, Mo., for first-degree robbery of Express Fuel, according to a news release from the Scott County Sheriff's Department.

Bom is accused of implying he had a gun and threatening the lives of gas station attendants in the Wednesday night heist, Sheriff Rick Walter said.

With an undisclosed amount of stolen cash in hand, Bom fled on foot from the gas station on Highway 77 near Benton.

He was later arrested at his home shortly before 11 p.m., nearly an hour and half after the robbery, the release stated. Most of the stolen money was recovered, but no weapon was found.

Police were able to arrest Bom so quickly because they dealt with him only the night before, according to Walter.

On Tuesday night, a Scott County resident called police to complain someone had climbed into his truck without permission. When the resident opened the truck's door, Bom fell out and his face struck the ground.

"It left some pretty good scars on his face," Walter said. Police arrived at the scene, but Bom was not arrested because the truck owner declined to press charges.

The bruises and scars that Bom suffered Tuesday matched a description of what gas station attendants saw Wednesday on the robber's face through a nylon mask he wore, Walter said.

According to the sheriff, the high bond was set due to Bom's criminal history.

"Mr. Bom is a career criminal," Walter said, adding the defendant had around 13 prior convictions, some theft-related, and was recently released from prison in February.

Bom was scheduled for arraignment Tuesday before Associate Circuit Judge David Mann.

kmorrison@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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