Perry Clark Bower, 54, surrendered to authorities on two warrants for theft by deception, in addition to the two counts he was charged with last week. He was released last week after posting a $3,200 bond and was released Thursday after posting another $3,200 bond on the second pair of charges.
At a hearing Thursday afternoon, Columbia County Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Hudson gave Bower seven days from the day he signs the order, which will likely be a few days after Thursday’s hearing, to vacate the business.
Bower, the owner of Electric Medic at 3850 Washington Road, near West Town shopping center, has rented four suites in La Petite Plaza, managed by James L. Wiggins and Williamsburg II LLP for 17 years.
“It’s time to move on,” Hudson said. “It’s time to close the business. It’s time to give people their property back and move on.”
Wiggins said Bower paid $100 of the $1,100 monthly rent for September and October and hasn’t paid rent for December or January.
Bower maintains he paid the entire rent for September and October, with $100 in checks and the remainder in cash.
Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said 49 people have made complaints against Bower and the business. They told authorities that they would leave a television for repair with Bower, along with a deposit, or he would go to their homes and repair or collect the electronics. Some claimed they couldn’t reach Bower by phone, or he hadn’t repaired their electronics, mostly televisions, or repaid their deposits.
Morris said the business contains hundreds if not a thousand pieces of electronics, mostly televisions.
Wiggins said some televisions are left outside the building.
“It’s a disaster,” he said of the building.
Bower said he’s been sick for the past few months and hasn’t removed some of the televisions customers drop-off outside the building.
Bower also said his business dropped off in 2013 after an advertising mistake.
“It was a good business until this year when the Yellow Pages left me out of the phone book,” Bower said. “That’s when the business went downhill.”
Columbia County Chief Marshal Shaun Brooks said if Bower doesn’t remove all property from the building within the seven days, the manager can file a writ for eviction. Then, Brooks said, he’ll post a final notice at the property for at least 48 hours. Any property left on the premises after that time is considered, by law, abandoned.
In a typical eviction, the abandoned property would be moved outside of the building by marshals.
In this case, Brooks said, “We’ve made arrangements with the property owner to hold them there to disperse them back to the owners.”
Marshals will work with the sheriff’s office to identify the owners of the electronics and return them.
“We’re already working with the sheriff’s office to try to get everything documented,” Brooks said.