South Fulton County

Bounce house company owner says thieves stole equipment, holding it for ransom

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — A bouncy house company with thousands of dollars worth of equipment told Channel 2 Action News that it was held for ransom by a customer.

“I was initially contacted by him on Facebook Marketplace. He goes by the name of Thomas Jones,” said Jasmine Lawrence with JAK Event Rentals.

Lawrence sent Channel 2′s Larry Spruill a Facebook message thread of a customer wanting to reserve a bouncy house from her company.

“They told us where to park, where we can put all of the equipment and the inflatable. It was like an open area behind one of the apartment buildings,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said her team had the customer fill out the forms and make a payment for the six-hour time slot. She also recorded a cellphone video of the setup process.

“He just sat there and watched us like a hawk the entire time,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence and her team left and agreed to return at 6 p.m. to pick everything up once the party was over.

“I get a text message at 6 o’clock on the dot and the text said, ‘Um, hey I want to know what time you’re coming so I can unplug everything,’” Lawrence said.


She told Spruill that her team got there around 6 p.m.

“We saw all of the equipment was gone including the generator, the blowers. The only thing that was left was the green tarp on the ground,” Lawrence said. “Everything was gone. I’m going to say nearly $4,000 in equipment.”

As if that wasn’t enough, shortly after, she got a text from the customer.

“I got two messages. One said, ‘I hate to give you bad news, but you’re not getting your stuff back.’ They then followed up with, ‘The reason is I felt that you overcharged me,’” Lawrence said.

The company said the thieves told them they would give them their equipment back if they paid them $1,000.

The company said they haven’t paid them but instead reached out to other party rental companies to warn them.

Several companies told them the same guy reached out to them for reservations.