AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) is offering a $7,500 reward for information about one of its cell towers that collapsed after it was vandalized in the town of Denison, Texas, according to police in the area. Although theft of equipment at cell sites is becoming more common, wholesale vandalism -- especially the kind that brings down towers -- is much rarer.
The 250-foot tower's support cables appear to have been cut down early one morning earlier this month in Denison, a town on the border with Oklahoma. According to local TV station KXII, AT&T said the vandalism caused around $1 million in damage. The station also reported that the Denison Police Department does not think any equipment was stolen from the tower. Thieves often steal copper grounding bars, cable, fiber and other gear from cell towers to sell on the black market.
AT&T installation crews erected a temporary cell tower but it will take around three months for the tower to be permanently replaced. AT&T said the $7,500 reward will be given to individuals providing information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Lt. Mike Eppler of the Denison Police Department told KXII that "someone deliberately brought the tower down. There was evidence that it is not an accident." He added that that the act of felling a tower is highly dangerous. "Somebody could be very seriously injured or killed by something like that," he said. No one was injured as a result of the collapse.
The collapse of the tower affected service not only for AT&T customers but also for Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) subscribers, and also disrupted 911 calls.
"Anytime you affect the ability to communicate, especially with emergency communications, it could endanger lives because the people are in a situation where they need us or EMS quickly, and if that's hampered that could be a life or death situation," Eppler told local TV station KTEN.
- see this RCR Wireless article
- see this KXII article
- see this KTEN article
- see this Herald Democrat article
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