Piqua man charged for vandalizing cell phone towers

TROY — A Piqua man is facing multiple felony charges for damaging five separate cell phone towers and temporarily disrupting service to local AT&T and Verizon customers.

“It’s serious damage,” Troy Police Officer Scott Gates said. “Service was disrupted for probably thousands of customers. The station on South Mulberry Street was offline.”

Christopher A. Daniels, 37, of Piqua, has been charged with aggravated trespass, felony vandalism and disrupting public service. Daniels was arrested on Monday, Dec. 5, after also breaking into at least two residences.

“At some point later in the morning, he broke into a couple of people’s houses,” Gates said. “Those are considered felony burglaries.”

A total of five towers were damaged, including three at locations on South Mulberry Street, Foss Way and East Staunton Road. Damage was also discovered at a tower in Tipp City and one located outside of city limits in Miami County.

“Right now, we have five towers,” Gates said. “They all occurred in about the same time period, between Dec. 4 and Dec. 5.”

“We feel like he’s responsible for all five,” he said. “We retrieved evidence from the scene from his truck.”

Daniels used his truck to ram one of the locations, Gates said. “He apparently used a chain, and wrapped it around some of the equipment at the towers and pulled it with his truck, causing serious damage and disrupting service.”

“He had been making several phone calls throughout the night,” Gates said. “He had made comments to 911 that he was trying to get ahold of Homeland Security. He talked about shutting down the power to the cell towers, and said that he needed to get them shut down.”

“He’s got some issues,” Gates said. “I think he was having delusional thoughts.”

Two of the damaged cell phone towers in Troy are owned by AT&T, and the tower on East Staunton Road carries Verizon service.

“We don’t have any values right now,” Gates said. “It takes time to get values, but it could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars total.”