Harold “Bit” Thrower had been helping federal agents make cases for years when he found himself in a fix in late 2006.
At the time, Thrower was corporate manager of Platinum 21, a strip club that was losing clientele — and big money — to the glitzy new Club Onyx not far away on Cheshire Bridge Road. Club Onyx, hosting parties for rappers Uncle Luke and T.I., saw its business flourish. Meanwhile, Platinum 21’s revenues tanked.
“It was like a single-wide trailer competing with the Taj Mahal,” Thrower testified at trial earlier this year.
Thrower ordered Boyd Smith, Platinum 21’s general manager, to do something about it. Smith turned to Sandyo Dyson, a former Marine in charge of Platinum 21’s security.
At first, Dyson tried infesting Club Onyx with rats and roaches. But that didn’t work. Dyson later set fire to Club Onyx on Jan. 2, 2007, causing $1.8 million in damages and lost sales.
At a hearing today, Thrower and Smith were sentencing to 5-year mandatory minimum terms for their roles in the arson. Thrower got a 3-year prison term, thanks to his cooperation to the government.
And after Thrower was caught committing the Club Onyx arson, he struck again. He helped lure Dyson and four of Dyson’s U.S. Army colleagues into a commando-styled raid of a drug house. Except none of this was real; Thrower, wearing a hidden microphone, was helping Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents make a case against the soldiers, who were arrested before the concocted raid was ever carried out.
Both Thrower and Dyson testified against Smith, who was convicted by a federal jury of conspiring to torch Club Onyx. During his testimony, Dyson acknowledged that in exchange for his cooperation, federal prosecutors were not charging him with planning the drug raid.
Four of Dyson’s former colleagues, however, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the fictitious drug raid scheme.