POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – There’s no such thing as free lunch, or, as Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd noted today, free television.
Four people were arrested by undercover detectives at the International Market World Flea Market near Auburndale on Saturday for allegedly selling “jail broken” Amazon Fire TV Sticks.
“I would suggest to you that this is occurring at almost every flea market across the United States so it’s a major event,” Judd said. “And that doesn’t count the people that are buying a legal Fire Stick and going home and doing it themselves.”
Lakeland residents Bongwoo Roe, 88, Grace Yarbrough, 59, Lorinda Marlene Holm, 71, and Luis Gabriel Vazquez, 34, repeatedly sold the devices to the detectives, according to the sheriff’s office.
They also instructed the undercover detectives on how to use them. Some of them admitted to jail breaking the devices themselves.
“Jail broken” sticks allow users to stream TV shows, movies and other internet content without paying a subscription for the service.
“Essentially, the devices allow people to steal internet communications services,” read a press release from the sheriff’s office.
The accused sellers charged between $80 – $107 for the modified devices.
They face felonies, including Advertise to Promote the Sale of Intercept Device. Sheriff Judd said any consumer caught using one in their home would face a misdemeanor.
“The businesses have got to make their profit margins so they’re going to charge enough to cover this shrinkage or this loss. At the end of the day, we all pay for the few people that steal,” said Sheriff Judd.