Suspected Copper Thieves Target Cell Phone Towers
By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9
EDMOND, Oklahoma -- Three men are accused of trying to steal copper from cell phone tower.
Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards said deputies arrested the men after discovering cut copper wire and drugs in their car during a traffic stop.
Authorities say thieves are turning to cell phone towers because they're easy targets. While it's not only dangerous it could have impacted service to thousands of cell phone customers.
Canadian County Sheriff's deputies found wires and drugs in the trunk of the suspects' car after a traffic stop. Deputies also found maps.
Sheriff Randall Edwards says the men used Google to locate the towers.
"There were approximately 15 different map locations of cellular towers that had, were burglarized or were to be burglarized," Sheriff Randall Edwards said.
They did confirm the thieves hit two towers in Edmond, one belonging to U.S. Cellular. About 200 feet of copper was stolen from a tower. U.S. Cellular customers were not affected.
"When copper wire is stolen from a cell tower our network typically does not experience any service interruption," said Steve Borden with U.S. Cellular. "Our field engineers worked quickly to get the copper wire replaced."
The wire that was stolen is used to ground the tower in case of a lightning strike. This is the first theft from a cell tower the U.S. Cellular representative has heard of and a first for Sheriff Edwards.
"Until we start putting heat on them and patrolling the cellular towers they'll be hitting those because they are easy targets, just like the churches and schools, they don't know how many people they inconvenience," Sheriff Edwards said.
The Sheriff asks the public to be their eyes and ears. If you see any suspicious activity around a cell phone tower report it to authorities.
The three men are still in the Canadian County jail on complaints of possessing and receiving stolen property.