Copper theft is a big problem, especially in rural parts of the country. Thieves will tear apart whatever they can to steal a little bit of copper, from electrical wires to electric car chargers to catalytic converters. They’ll then sell the copper to recyclers for cash, and then it’s off to buy drugs or whatever else they’re doing with the money (I’m guessing it’s not going to charity or towards putting their kids through school, but what do I know).
And copper thieves in Oklahoma recently caused major damage and knocked a country radio station off the air after toppling their radio tower to get their hands on a small amount of the precious metal.
According to Payne Media Group’s station K95.5, which uses the call sign KITX and broadcasts in southeast Oklahoma and northeast Texas, copper thieves toppled their radio tower in Hugo, Oklahoma and did “catastrophic damage,” knocking the station off the radio waves in the process.
The tower was erected in 2017, and according to Choctaw County Sheriff Terry Park, the damage totaled approximately $500,000 – while the value of the copper stolen by the thieves was around $100.
Payne Media Group’s Will Payne provided an assessment of the damage and views of the collapsed tower on the station’s Facebook page:
And later in the week, police arrested 37-year old Matt Wilson and 34-year old Candice Logan for the vandalism.
While the station is still broadcasting online, K95.5 reports that they hope to be back on the air broadcasting over the radio in the next week.
“We are working around the clock in hopes we will return to air next week for the K95.5 Radio Shopper. Thank you for you understanding.
The investigation is on going into the individuals responsible for cutting down the broadcast tower and we will share all of our information when the time is appropriate.
Thank you for the amazing, overwhelming community support, law enforcement, and all that have reached out this week.”
It’s a shame that they’re having to deal with this, but hopefully the station is able to get fully back up and running soon.