According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, some would-be thieves bit off more than they could chew when they cut down a 150-foot cell tower for scrap.
Deputies said the guy-wires were cut to the tower on Wednesday night, April 3, 2019 and the suspects came back Saturday to steal aluminum and other scrap metal from it.
“I got in law enforcement when I got out of the service in ’96. I’ve never seen a cell phone tower cut down before,” said Lt, Bobby Jeter with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Jeter said it’s one of the most bizarre cases he’s seen. The tower was first reported down by a worker cutting grass for the tower company on Thursday, but after a closer look, it was obvious the guy-wires had been cut. Neighbors near Price Rivers Road, west of McIntosh reported hearing a large boom the night before.
“He thought it was a sonic boom, but it was this tower falling and so, we asked him to keep an eye on this area and all the deputies was close-patrolling this area,” Jeter explained.
When the tower fell, it hit the building and crashed into the woods. Investigators said they got a call from a citizen who heard activity at the site Saturday afternoon. Deputies and McIntosh police closed in on the suspected thieves.
“The generator was running, so there was three guys in the woods cutting the tower up,” Jeter said. “They was able to sneak up on them and they didn’t even hear them because the generator was making so much noise.”
William Cameron, Ricky Reed and David Weaver were all arrested and charged with criminal mischief first, a felony. Deputies said the suspects had already loaded some of the tower on their truck by the time they got there.
“That was just the metal, but the antennas that were on here, they’re all aluminum. They was after that aluminum. It’s a higher price,” said Jeter. “They were gonna…eventually, if nobody caught them, salvage this whole tower.”
Cameron, Reed and Weaver are all being held in the Washington County Jail on $15,000 bond. Deputies said all three suspects have been charged with multiple felony property crimes before, totaling 37 in all. The investigation is ongoing more charges could come. The cell tower was not operational and had no power going to it at the time.