Crime

Copper thieves bring down 500-foot Oklahoma radio tower

Thieves made off with several hundred dollars' worth of copper but left over $500,000 worth of damage.

Radio tower mangled, lying on a field.
Choctaw County Sheriff Terry Park
SMS

Copper thieves in Oklahoma managed to bring down a 500-foot radio tower, knocking a station off the air. 

The Payne Media Group said that on Monday, copper thieves caused catastrophic damage to its K95.5 tower site in Choctaw County. Photos and videos shared by the station showed what was left of the tower sitting in a field. 

The station said on its Facebook page that thieves cut the guide wire, which caused the tower to topple. 

K95.5 said thieves got away with eight to 10 10-foot sections of copper tubes. The station said the copper tubes aren't commonly found in hardware stores and that it takes a "long time" to have them made. 

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County Sheriff Terry Park said deputies received a call around 5:45 a.m. Monday of a tower being down. Park said the copper itself caused a loss of several hundred dollars, but the damage to the tower and building is estimated at $500,000. 

The country station is based out of Paris, Texas, and serves Northeast Texas and Southeastern Oklahoma. The station said it will be "back on the air as soon as possible."

The U.S. Department of Energy estimated in 2019 that metal thefts cost U.S. businesses about $1 billion a year. The government estimates that 95% of all metal thefts involve copper.