After thieves caused roughly $500,000 in damages after bringing down the nearly 500 ft. K95.5 tower in Hugo, OK, to steal the copper wiring on Monday morning, a suspect has been identified after trying to sell the copper in Paris, Texas, on Wednesday.
Shortly before 11 a.m., Paris Police Officers, assisting the Choctaw County Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office, responded to the 700 block of W. Center Street after employees identified the copper wiring.
Police say the business notified the victims from Oklahoma, who were of owners of the wire, and they came to positively identify the wire.
Will Payne with Payne Media Group said he learned the tower site was vandalized early Tuesday morning after there was a loss of signal.
“Copper thieves had come in and cut part of the tower guy wires, and that caused the tower to fall,” Payne told KXII. “This is the first time we’ve ever had criminals come in and cut down a tower for copper. Weather conditions happen quite a bit where we have tower issues with the weather, but we’ve never had one like this.”
On Monday, Payne explained thieves cut up the copper wiring in “about ten foot lengths” so they can easily transport it and sell it to recyclers for a fraction of the damage they cause — which they attempted the next day in Paris.
Not only are local authorities investigating the criminal mischief, but the FBI reported that the the theft of copper is a risk to both public safety and national security.
The investigation continues.