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Former Horry County, S.C., IT Worker Pleads Guilty to Theft

A former administrator in the Horry County information technology department has now signed an agreement to plead guilty to stealing more than $350,000 in computer equipment, officials said.

by Alex Lang, The Sun News / November 20, 2019

(TNS) — A former administrator in the Horry County, S.C., information technology department has signed an agreement to plead guilty to stealing more than $350,000 in computer equipment, officials said.

The agreement provides the first information in nearly a year on the theft of computer devices from the county.

Terry Shawn Petrill signed a plea agreement last week that states he is guilty, according to federal court paperwork. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Petrill is no longer employed in Horry County, county spokeswoman Kelly Moore said. Officials confirmed Petrill is the same person accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of computer hardware from the county.

Between 2015 and 2018, Petrill stole property worth more than $5,000, according to the the paperwork. The filing indicates that Petrill is subject to a forfeiture of $365,000, which is equal to the proceeds Petrill got from his crime.

The timetable of his crime coincided with various equipment being stolen from the Horry County IT department, according to a police report, which states an IT worker learned of the missing items during an inventory. The county bought the equipment between June 2015 and August 2018.

Fourteen Cisco computer switches were entered as stolen into a national database, the report states. A switch works similar to a home router and allows multiple computers to connect to the internet.

The report estimated the value of the equipment at $270,000.

Officials announced the theft in December 2018, but were mum on many details. The FBI was also called in to investigate.

According to his Linkedin page, Petrill now works as a private consultant. He left Horry County in November 2018, around the same time Horry County police started its investigation into the computer theft.

Petrill’s attorney Thomas Brittain said he explained to Petrill that probation is unlikely in the case. When the FBI interviewed his client, he admitted to the crimes, he said. The attorney called it a classic case of someone making a mistake.

“He is a very sad, remorseful, quiet and humble person,” Brittain said.

The pre-sentencing investigation process, ahead of the formal sentencing hearing, is likely to take a couple of months, Brittain said.

©2019 The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, S.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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