JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A Jones County man who allegedly claimed to have found lost dogs in exchange for reward money made his initial appearance in court Thursday.
Troy J. Cooley was charged with two counts of fraud by electric device. He was given a $10,000 bond for each count, totally $20,000.
Cooley, 19, was arrested Wednesday at a local restaurant in Jones County. According to the sheriff's department, Cooley had contacted the owner of the lost dog and asked for a reward in order to return the dog.
The Jones County Sheriff's Department said they were contacted by the concerned dog's owner and decided to do an undercover operation. Deputies said Cooley wanted the dog owner to leave the money at a restaurant.
"He wanted $150 wrapped up and placed in a garbage can inside the restaurant, so that's what we did," said Major Jamie Tedford. "We actually staked out that restaurant that he wanted. The subject actually came in and went to the bathroom and at that time one of the Jones County deputies, which was undercover, actually went in the restroom and noticed Troy Cooley. They talked to Mr. Cooley, they were able to get his phone and his phone was the number that was texting the victim and wanting money for the trade of the dog."
Cooley was arrested and charged with false pretense.
"The guy never had the dog, he never intended to give the dog back," said Major Tedford. "He had actually found the guy saying that he had lost his dog on a Facebook page and so he was just trying to extort money out of the guy."