The owner of a Martinez electronics repair store arrested last week and faced more theft charges Thursday after a hearing to evict him for not paying rent.
Perry Clark Bower, 54, turned himself into authorities for 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 a second $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 the Thursday hearing, to vacate the business.
Bower, 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 close the business,” Hudson said. 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 checks and the remainder in cash.
Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said 49 people have made complaints against Bower and the business. The victims told authorities that they would leave a television for repair with Bower along with a deposit. Some say they can’t reach Bower by phone, others say he hasn’t repaired their electronics or returned their deposits.
Morris said the business contains hundreds if not a thousand pieces of electronics, mostly televisions.Wiggins said some televisions are left outside.
“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.
He 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 hasn’t removed 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 abandoned property by law.
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.”
Brooks said they are working to identify as many owners as possible before the eviction.