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Posted on Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Saline police arrest man in connection with scrap metal theft near cell tower

By Kyle Feldscher

A 39-year-old Saline man was arrested and may be charged with damaging a cell phone tower and stealing copper wiring from nearby railroad tracks in Saline on Tuesday.

Saline police arrested the man after he was found walking along railroad tracks near a cell tower around 2 p.m. on Tuesday in the 7000 block of North Maple Road. Police were responding to a call from an AT&T employee who said that he saw a man jump the fence surrounding the cell tower, according to police.

When the employee drove up to the cell tower, he saw the man standing inside the fenced-in area around the tower, police said. When the man noticed the employee, he dropped some tools and fled the area on foot, according to police. There was some damage to several copper plates and cables in the area and the employee found wire cutters the man had apparently left behind, police said.

Multiple officers responded to the area, with one going to the cell tower and another searching for the suspect. The man was found walking along the tracks east of the cell tower carrying a backpack, police said. Upon searching the backpack, police found copper wiring and copper cables, police said.

Police took the man back to the cell tower to give the AT&T employee an opportunity to identify him, police said. Once the employee was able to identify him, police put the man under arrest and took him to the Saline Police Department, according to police.

The man denied being in the cell tower area and said he did not know that taking copper wiring from the railroad tracks was illegal, stating he was only trying to make some extra money. He is scheduled to take a polygraph exam next week.

Police confiscated the backpack full of copper wiring, the wire cutters, the copper cable, the damaged copper grounding plate and bolt cutters. The total damage to the cell tower is estimated to be about $400, police said.

The case has been sent to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office for review. The suspect’s name is not being released because he has not yet been arraigned.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

Good eye, thanks to the AT&T employee. Great job in the arrest of the suspect Saline police!


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 7 p.m.

Penny ante theft doesn't play around here. You want to get away with it, rob a bank. Better yet, start a bank.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

So true...because a bank, like any other business, is not entitled to make a profit.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

Note to police: please find out whether this man had anything to do with the theft of the armillary from UM's North Campus. It's probably long gone, but maybe there's a chance that it could be recovered.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

Yeah, because he's the only thief in the county. I'm sad about the armillary though--it was a beautiful thing, and right below my office window.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

i bet he walked all the way from Saline to North Campus to steal this armillary which from pictures looks extremely heavy. (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I bet he then put it on his back, and hiked all the way back to Saline while carrying this said armillary, all while not being spotted by any law enforcement officers. Please god i hope my post doesn't get removed for &quot;speculation&quot;


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 3:41 p.m.

note to vivian: the police won't read this....

Ron Granger

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 1:13 p.m.

Good work, SPD! I hate the parasites who destroy our infrastructure to make a quick buck, typically at scrap value of pennies per replacement dollar. The worst are those who steal and destory our history and art. If guilty, he should rot in a real jail cell where he can contemplate the scrap value of the bars for a very long time.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

He'll plea down to probation because he didn't know it was illegal to steal copper wire!


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

yeah great idea!!! Let's bog down the judicial system and lock him up for YEARS. Let tax payers pay thousands of dollars to keep him locked up &quot;for a very long time&quot;.

Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 12:11 p.m.

The man denied being in the cell tower area and said he did not know that taking copper wiring from the railroad tracks was illegal? Since when has taking anything without the knowledge or consent of the owner been legal?