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Suspect in snake robbery arrested

April 26, 2012 at 2:17 AM

MEDIA, Pa., April 26 (UPI) -- A man in jail in New York City is suspected of shooting and robbing a Philadelphia-area snake dealer, police said Wednesday.

Investigators said Rasheem Dowdy, 32, of Allentown, Pa., was linked to the crime by DNA, the Delaware County Daily Times reported. Dowdy is now being held on a rape charge in New York.

Mark Haas, a Doylestown, Pa., snake breeder, traveled to a shopping center parking lot in Delaware County in January to meet a man who had offered to buy a 6-foot ball python and 20 baby snakes for more than $12,000. When he arrived, he got a text message from the purported buyer saying he would be there soon -- and shortly after was held up at gunpoint, shot in the chest and robbed of the snakes and his sport utility vehicle.

The SUV was abandoned nearby after the thief struck a utility pole and fled on foot. Police found a jacket, a gun and other items in a wooded area after following fresh footprints left in the snow.

Haas was critically injured but has since recovered. The snakes were also retrieved.

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