MARYSVILLE — A man who reportedly stole wires from a cellular tower Saturday happened to cut the ones used by 911 dispatchers.
While the act didn’t appear to have affected emergency service, the consequences could have been dire if there’d been a thunderstorm, according to a probable cause affidavit. The thief cut wires that grounds the system, the document said.
The damage was estimated between $8,000 and $10,000.
The man, 30, allegedly told officers he intended to trade the wires for drugs.
The Snohomish County Emergency Radio System has a camera videotaping the tower along 64th Street NE. A man in dark clothing was spotted walking up to the surrounding fence with bolt cutters early in the morning. Dispatchers alerted police.
Officers quickly tracked down the man. He was carrying a green backpack and a black garbage bag containing two pairs of bolt cutters, wrenches and an object used to ingest drugs, according to court papers. They also found the stolen wires and equipment used to ground them.
He was arrested on suspicion of second-degree burglary and first-degree malicious mischief.
This isn’t the first time he has been accused of ravaging cell towers for parts.
In June 2016, the man allegedly filled a backpack with wires pulled from a tower on 88th Street NE in Marysville.
An employee working at a nearby business stumbled upon a broken padlock on a fence that surrounded the tower, according to a probable cause affidavit. He had been conducting his usual security sweep of the area, as the business had been targeted in burglaries before.
He found the backpack and noticed the wires had been pulled from the electrical panel. Shortly after, he saw someone jump over a fence and run.
A passerby heard someone yell, “stop thief.” He realized the suspect was running toward him and tackled him, according to court papers. Another person zip-tied the suspect’s hands until police arrived.
The Lynnwood man has been charged with multiple counts of trafficking stolen property as well as possession of a stolen vehicle.