News 12 at 6 o'clock / Jan. 23, 2014
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- For the second time in a week, a television repairman has been arrested and charged with theft by deception.
Deputies arrested Electric Medic owner Perry Bower just hours after he was ordered by a judge to vacate his business property. He is charged with two more counts of theft by deception.
Bower contradicted himself in court and blamed News 12, his bad health and even the Yellow Pages for his failing television repair business.
"It was a good business up until this year when the Yellow Pages left me out of the phone book," said Bower before Columbia County Magistrate Judge Christopher Hudson. It was just one reason Bower told Hudson why his business has failed and why he is behind thousands of dollars in rent. It was not Bower's only explanation.
"This skin infection I've got has got it where it's hard to build or repair televisions," said Bower. In the end though he was arrested for the second time in a week charged with two more counts of theft by deception. He also has a little more than one week to vacate the property he has run his out of for the past 17 years. Hudson gave Bower some unsolicited advise.
If I was you I would start working 24 hours a day for the next seven days to make sure that you can get as many of those televisions back," said Hudson.
Early estimates put the number of televisions inside the shop at over 1,000 units. We spoke to Bower prior to his arrest. He told us News 12 was to blame for his failing business. Last year two folks contacted On Your Side claiming that Bower took their deposits but never delivered on repairing their televisions.
Columbia County Captain Steve Morris said the complaints have poured in since last November. "As it stands we have 49 victims, 49 reports on record and we expect a few more to trickle in," said Morris.
He expects as many as 60 police reports when things are all said and done. He says this case is a first of this magnitude in his more than 30 years in law enforcement. "Never seen anything to this extent," said Morris.
The owners of the property say after Bower fell behind in rent, he stopped responding to text messages and phone calls. It is a similar complaint News 12 heard from several folks who gave Bower deposits to fix their televisions.
The Columbia County Marshal's and Sheriff's Departments say they will work jointly to assist Electric Medic customers in getting those televisions returned to them as well as refunds. Meanwhile the stack of cases against Bower we are being told will likely go to the district attorney's office for possible indictments..