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Investigation continues in cable theft case

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

The attorney for a McDonough man charged with buying and selling stolen cable equipment insists his client is innocent.

Charges were bound over to Superior Court Friday for 30-year-old Dallas Woodroe Goddin, III. He is charged with theft by receiving and criminal use of an article with an altered identification mark.

The case stems from the reported discovery, by Henry County Police, of more than $1 million in cable equipment apparently belonging to companies including, Comcast Cable, Charter Communications and Georgia Power.

Police said they found the stolen items while executing a search warrant on Dec. 14, at Goddin's home, at 15 Oak Grove Lane in McDonough. They arrested him there.

"He had no idea they were stolen," said Goddin's attorney, Ricky Morris. "In his mind, it was absolutely legitimate. He was buying these things absolutely for value. He had consistent customers that also ran their own legitimate businesses, and then, he sold those things as legitimate sales as part of his business."

According to Morris, Goddin purchased "bad or damaged goods" as part of his salvage business, and repaired them for resale.

Goddin was released from the Henry County Jail Dec. 14, on $20,000 bond. Morris said that Goddin has been cooperative with authorities, during their "ongoing" investigation of the case.

"They're looking at other people, potentially, that Mr. Goddin purchased these things from," said Morris. "The next step is to begin discussions with the District Attorney's Office and the police department about evidence obtained in the case. We'll try to cooperate with the police to give them information that, hopefully, shows them that what Mr. Goddin did was run a legitimate business."

A preliminary hearing was waived Thursday for a second suspect, 30-year-old Robert Charles Watford, of Jackson, in connection with the cable-theft case. Watford and 34-year-old James Cleveland McSwain, of Thomaston, are charged with theft by taking and the sale of regulated metals to a secondary recycler.

Henry County Police Capt. Jason Bolton said, last month, that Watford and McSwain sold new and used cable equipment -- which belonged to Charter -- to Goddin at his home.

Both men were arrested Dec. 18, at their place of employment. Watford was released from the jail the same day on $2,632 bond. Watford's attorney, Alfred Dixon, declined to comment on the allegations against his client, saying it is "too early" to do so.

McSwain was also released on bond Dec. 18. His bond was $2,558, and his case was bound over to Superior Court. His attorney, Public Defender Gary Bowman, could not be reached for comment Friday.