Grounding wire stolen from 13th St. cell tower

It is the second time in two months this tower has been stripped of copper.

Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.

Another week, another copper theft in Alachua County.

This time the copper taken was the grounding wire for electrical equipment on a cell phone tower at 4233 SW 13th St., according to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.

The tower serves AT&T, Verizon, T Mobile and Nextel.

It is the second time in two months this tower has been stripped of copper.

The Sheriff's Office said the latest theft was reported Tuesday afternoon after an AT&T technician noticed the grounding wire was gone.

Damage estimates included about $200 in materials and will require about $15,000 to repair.

Investigators said the thief likely sold the wire as scrap copper, which might have brought in less than $100.

The grounding wire taken this week was apparently the one installed in December when technicians noticed another one had been removed from the tower.

Last week, copper thieves hit a publicly owned building — the former county Health Department building at 22000 SE 65th Ave. in Hawthorne.

The building was recently donated by Alachua County to the city of Hawthorne.

Four air conditioners were discovered missing when city officials toured the building last week.

During the first week of January, Hawthorne officials said someone broke into a city-owned shed and stole copper wire from it.

In December, deputies investigated the theft of copper from another cell phone tower, one used by AT&T and Metro PCS at 1301 NE U.S. 301.

Anyone with information about any of the copper thefts can call Crime Stoppers at 372-7867.

Callers will be able to remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.

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