Middle Tennessee has seen a rash of cell tower battery thefts and has announced the arrest of Gary Gene Butler, Jr., charged with stealing at least two of them. Portland (TN) Police Detective Miranda Vaughan told WKRN-TV the suspect revealed his motivation, noting “When I interviewed him, he said he was supporting his drug habit.”
Although there are at least 50 cases of cell tower battery theft in the region, so far, Butler has only been charged with two, though WKRN-TV speculates that he may be responsible for many others. Vaughan said that Butler was a former industry employee, which gave him insights into how to gain access to the secure facilities. A burglary near the police department brought Vaughan in on the case, which had initially perplexed law enforcement as the tower site facilities are not easily breached.
A total of eight 100-pound batteries worth over $3,000 were taken from the site Vaughan investigated. “Based on his statement, he [Butler]would take them to the recycling center and he would get twenty cents per pound, for those batteries. So, he was getting a couple hundred dollars per pop for those batteries,” Vaughan explained.
Butler was caught on security cameras, which were able to view the stolen batteries in the back of his truck. So far, the suspect is facing two counts of theft and a $1,000 fine. He has thus far avoided a stiffer penalty as it does not appear that he stole copper or other materials, and was not intent upon destruction of the communications facilities.
On his prospects, Vaughan commented, “Yeah he is ready to turn his life around and kick his drug habit.” A court date has not yet been scheduled.
The post Former Tower Worker Accused of Battery Theft to Fund Drug Habit appeared first on Inside Towers.