Because of the isolated locations of many cell towers and the general lack of security, thieves are seldom caught in the act of stealing copper from the sites. In two incidents recently, suspects were caught in the act.
In Old Bridge, N.J., a man was caught by police making their rounds before he could walk away with the copper grounding plates of a tower next to the Garden State Parkway, perhaps not the most isolated tower around.
According to a story on MyCentralJersey.com, an employee of Metro RF Services, Adrienne Fernandez, was found by police at the cell site at 3 a.m. He explained that he had come back to the site to pick up a missing tool, but the authorities noticed a black bag filled with copper grounding plates in the man’s vehicle. Upon further inspection, they found damage to the cell site and missing grounding bars.
Fernandez and an accomplice, Rothley Federick, were charged with burglary by entering a locked structure, theft of movable property and possession of burglary tools, according to police.
In Broussard, La., KLFY television station reported that a man was caught stealing copper from a cell tower.
Wade Thibodeaux was posing as a tower maintenance worker and had the bad luck of being at the tower when the real tower worker came on the scene and confronted him.
Police apprehended the man shortly afterward in possession of tools and stolen copper. He is suspected of stealing copper from several other cell towers, and radio and television towers. He has been charged on seven counts of burglary in Layafette, La.