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