Whenever the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles come up in thought or conversation, most of us probably imagine a kickass group of crime fighting turtles that eat pizza and yell "cowabunga." Hell, one could even say that they're the epitome of the typical stoner fantasy. But for the 57-year-old cannabis grower James Bowman, the faces of those fun-loving reptilian sewer-dwellers will likely haunt him for the rest of his life.
Back in December, the renowned southern Oregon-based cultivator was horrifically tortured and robbed by seven intruders clad in Ninja Turtle masks. Instead of just stealing the massive stash of cannabis plants and jetting, the heartless perpetrators severely beat and nearly killed Bowman. Unfortunately, the seasoned cultivator didn’t have enough money to pay his crew for security purposes, leaving him totally alone and defenseless.
The mask-clad criminals entered the unsecured home and put a pillowcase over Bowman’s head, striking him repeatedly with a pistol until he was bloodied up. They then zip-tied his hands and feet, demanding money that the unfortunate man didn’t even have. After being tortured for nearly five hours with a butane torch and power drill, the suspects destroyed video surveillance evidence and hauled off 300 pounds of marijuana. Bowman was left tied to a chair covered in cold water, and spent four days recovering in the hospital after his workers discovered him in critical condition the next morning.
Although the attack transpired last winter, the case itself is just now coming to a close. According to Marco Boccato, the Jackson County deputy district attorney overseeing the case, eight people involved in the attack have either been arrested, had warrants issued for their arrest, or are currently awaiting extradition. Luckily, one of the attackers dropped a cellphone during the escape, allowing law enforcement to track down those who were involved.
It turns out that Bowman had encountered at least one of the suspects in the past. A few years after his cannabis grow was raided by federal agents back in 2012, Bowman met with two representatives from Meadowlark Farms in Gold Hill about a potential investment in his farm. One of the two men was Frank William Foremski, who police later found had texted the attackers about cutting security camera wires and bringing the truck to Bowman's house.
Bowman is still recovering from the physical and mental damage inflicted from the horrific robbery, suffering from pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. On top of that, the experienced grower is facing a slew of new problems as the growing season is underway and he has little money and no plants in the ground. Bowman is looking for an investor to help him make a balloon payment on his farm, but with commercial growers spreading across the Beaver State, the downtrodden man is struggling to keep his operation afloat.