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Sheriff's deputies arrest DISH television scammer

ALBANY -- An Albany man sits in Dougherty County jail accused of stealing company time, equipment and satellite television services for more than 100 Dougherty County residents, officials said.

Bob Thornton, 29, is charged with one felony theft by deception count, said Dougherty County Sheriff's Capt. Craig Dodd. More charges are anticipated, he added.

"Thornton fraudulently obtained equipment and television service for 112 people in the county," Dodd said. "They knew what he was doing, they are his accomplices."

The people who had installation of satellite dishes and took receivers from the company were paying Thornton $30 a month, Dodd said. They paid him to fill out the paperwork because they were not qualified financially to get the service, he added.

Thornton found a way to register people for the service using his last name but a variety of first names, Dodd said. He would pay the company a minimum to keep the services operating and pocket the rest, Dodd said.

Thornton claims he received $13,000 in payments for the year he was in business, Dodd said. That seems a bit light, he added.

"Take all the staff time, effort for installation and having their equipment out not being paid for and the company is out $70,000 at least," Dodd said.

"Stealing is wrong, plain and simple, and DISH Network will continue to work with law enforcement to track down those who steal TV service and run illegal scams," said Allyson Mylrea DISH Network LLC corporate communications coordinator.

The people who dealt with Thornton could be arrested for stealing DISH Network's equipment, Dodd said. He encouraged anyone who was a Thornton customer to return the equipment.

"If you are a customer who got a DVR from Thornton, you need to call us at (229) 431- 3259, and turn the equipment in at the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office," Dodd said. "We will not arrest, and we are giving you until Monday afternoon to come in."