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COMCAST CABLEVISION OF BALTIMORE COUNTY AND HARFORD COUNTY, STORER CABLE OF HOWARD COUNTY ANNOUNCE HOLIDAY AMNESTY PROGRAM; LOCAL CHARITIES TO BENEFIT

 /ADVANCE/ TIMONIUM, Md., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Officials at Comcast Cablevision of Baltimore County and Harford County, and Storer Cable of Howard County today announced a special holiday amnesty, from Dec. 21 to Dec. 31, 1992, during which those residents of these three counties who have continued to receive cable television services without paying for them will have one final opportunity to turn themselves in, no questions asked, prior to possible criminal prosecution.
 According to Curt Pendleton, general manager of Comcast Baltimore County, "The news coverage recently given to the new cable TV laws of the state of Maryland and the State's Attorney's successful prosecution of cable TV thieves has shown thousands of area residents that we're pretty serious about cracking down on those who steal our signal." He added, "At the same time, we realize that a lot of people face a dilemma -- should they or should they not turn themselves in. So, in that we prefer to have more paying customers than a record number of prosecutions, we are offering citizens one last opportunity, in the spirit of the holiday season, to turn themselves in with no questions asked. They may then become legitimate paying customers or be disconnected -- their choice."
 Comcast further announced that upon completion of this amnesty program on Dec. 31, the company, in concert with local State's Attorneys' offices, would continue to aggressively pursue prosecutions. To date, approximately 75 charges have been filed in Baltimore County with most resulting in orders of restitution, fines, and in at lease one case: jail time. Comcast technicians are in the midst of a comprehensive, home-by-home cable TV audit which results in the identification of cable TV thieves. As these homes are identified, the information is forwarded to the appropriate State's Attorney's office.
 In keeping with the spirit of the holiday season and in the interest of community goodwill, Comcast officials are adding a "twist" to this special amnesty program. According to David H. Nevins, Comcast/Storer spokesman: "All installation fees generated from new paying customers, as a result of the holiday amnesty program, will be donated to local children's charities to benefit the most needy citizens among us. Our goal in this amnesty program is not simply to generate more revenue for the company, but to eliminate the unfair theft of our product. We wanted to create a situation where everyone wins. The company gets additional paying subscribers, the counties get additional tax revenues, citizens avoid prosecution and the embarrassment of public humiliation, and local charities receive all of the installation monies. To our knowledge, it's the first time in the country that the installation proceeds will go to charity." He added, "We're not out to send people to jail. We're just out to offer our legitimate and valued paying customers the best cable TV service possible."
 The last amnesty program resulted in more than 7,000 people in the Baltimore metropolitan area turning themselves in. The company estimates that up to 3,000 more will participate in this final amnesty program. Of that number, it is further estimated that slightly more than half will opt to pay for cable TV while the remainder will be disconnected.
 In order to participate in the amnesty, citizens are urged to call either 252-1000 or 560-1604 in Baltimore County, 410-272-7500 in Harford County and 461-1156 in Howard County.
 -0- 12/18/92/1030
 /NOTE: A press conference featuring Comcast officials and representatives of the State's Attorney's office will be held Friday, Dec. 18, at 10:30 a.m., at Comcast headquarters in Timonium, 1830 York Road. Media are urged to attend./
 /CONTACT: David H. Nevins or Kirstie Dowell for Comcast Cablevision and Storer Cable, 410-356-8822/


CO: Comcast Cablevision; Storer Cable ST: Maryland IN: SU:

TW -- DC004 -- 8097 12/17/92 09:51 EST
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Date:Dec 17, 1992
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