Former Atmore tire dealer failed to pay for merchandise
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A former Atmore businessman surrendered to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office November 5 after an investigation by Flomaton police led to a charge against him of first degree theft by deception.
According to an employee of the Escambia County Detention Center’s booking and release division, Christopher Rowland, 35, former owner of Rowland’s Tires, was released after $25,000 bail was posted on his behalf.
According to the indictment handed up by an Escambia County grand jury against Rowland on October 31, the former businessman “did knowingly obtain, by deception, control over the following property, to wit: tires, the property of Hornsby Tires, and having a value in excess of $2,500.00, with the intent to deprive the owner of the said property.”
Hornsby Tires, a distributor of several tire brands, is reportedly headquartered in Dothan and has locations in Columbus, Ga., Jacksonville, Fla. and several other Alabama cities.
Rowland once ran two separate stores, one in Atmore and one in Flomaton. According to several sources in the local business community, Rowland ceded ownership of the business in exchange for forgiveness of another accrued debt.
He is reportedly no longer affiliated with either store and has not been for several months.
A person at the Hornsby Tires distributor in Theodore refused comment on the pending criminal action last Friday, and a message left at Hornsby’s Dothan headquarters had not been answered by Tuesday’s press deadline.
According to Alabama Criminal Code, first-degree theft by deception is a Class B felony. A conviction on such a charge could lead to imprisonment for a period of 2-20 years, as well as court-ordered restitution and a fine of up to $30,000.