WEIR - A rural Scammon man is in the Cherokee County Jail today after allegedly stealing copper wire from a radio transmission tower.
According to a release from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department, at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, deputies were dispatched to a radio tower at NE 10th and Weir Road, after receiving a call from Heartland Electric Cooperative indicating the tower was no longer operating.
Deputies arrived to find someone had cut the nearly inch-and-a-half thick copper wire away from the tower and removed it.
About an hour and a half later deputies responded to a report of a possible theft in progress at a home on Highway 7 just north of Columbus.
According to Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves, officers arrived to find the homeowner, holding a man identified as 39 year-old Jeff Blake, of rural Scammon, at gunpoint.
Deputies allegedly discovered the missing wire in Blake's vehicle and arrested him on felony theft and felony criminal damage charges.
According to Groves, Blake is lucky to be alive.
"These people are doing this (stealing copper wire) and it's just a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured or killed," he said, adding this alleged theft was unusual for the area. "What we typically see is (theft of parts from) equipment or old cars which has been left in a field."
Blake is being held in the Cherokee County Jail in lieu of $11,000 bond, he also has a no bond hold from the Kansas Department of Corrections on a probation violation on a Missouri felony theft conviction.