Thomas Co. car dealership owner & GM arrested for theft -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomas Co. car dealership owner & GM arrested for theft

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By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WALB) –Two Thomas County businessman are charged with several counts of felony theft by conversion.

Investigators say the owner and manager of Prestige Honda took cars in on trade and didn't pay off the owed amounts.

The thefts could affect some of the car dealership's customers for years to come.

When some Prestige Honda customers drove off the lot in a new car, they also left with a trunk full of financial baggage.

"This has been going on for more than a year and we kept getting complaints," says Lt. Steven Jones of the Thomas County Sheriff's Office. "Just today I got 12 phone calls and it's gotten out of hand. There were just too many victims."

Sheriff's investigators say the owner of Prestige Honda, Craig Hornsby and the general manager Jefferey Bryson have been scamming customers from repair warranties to paid trade-in deals.

"People were coming in that are victims who didn't realize they were victims until they needed something done," Jones explained.

When Thomasville resident Katherine Prince heard the news, she said, "Oh my goodness. I'd be really upset. I'd be angry."

When billing agencies began calling customers for debts that were no longer their responsibility, they contacted authorities. Deputies executed arrest warrants Monday but allowed the dealership to stay open.

"I'm all for getting bad guys and wouldn't want innocent people to be in the way," says Prince.

Jones explains, "The general manager and owner took full responsibility. They knew what they were doing was wrong. It's unfortunate that it had to happen at this time of the year."

And the damage is already done for some customers whose accounts have gone into collections, ruining their credit in the process.

"It's not a joke. You need credit nowadays," says Prince. "And when you've worked hard enough to get a car, you don't need someone messing it up for you."

Jones adds, "I hope there is some compensation made because the creditors still want their money. But it's tough economic times even at the dealership obviously."

But it's even tougher for some innocent car buyers this holiday season.

Prestige Honda representatives declined an interview per their attorney's advice.

Craig Hornsby and Jeffery Bryson may face additional charges as the investigation continues.

If you believe you may be a victim in this case, contact the Thomas County Sheriff's Office at (229) 225-3300.

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