Back at the tail end of the aughts, I was on a team designing a monitoring system for cell phone towers. It was during that time a cell phone tower company executive regaled us with tales of craziness that had caused him to seek us out in the first place. Tales of theft spanned the gamut, from single grounding busbars that would go unnoticed until lightning destroyed everything disconnected from them, to thieves attempting to steal a whole cell phone tower.
"The whole thing" was the executive's reply when I asked if I'd heard him correctly. After that meeting ended, I had to know more. Consulting the oracle at Google yielded this article about William H. Cameron, Ricky Reed, and David Leon Weaver, which tells the tale of three would-be thieves from Alabama that had cut the anchoring guy wires attached to a disused cell phone tower to fell it in 2019.
The cacophony of a generator, power tools, and miscellaneous noises led a neighbor to call the Washington County Sheriff's department, whose deputies arrived on the scene to apprehend the thieves, red-handed.
From Wireless Estimator:
Three Alabama men are in jail in Washington County on a $15,000 bond for felling a 150-foot Crown Castle guyed tower, because they wanted it all, and were willing to work for days to remove the microwave dishes and other scrap metal that they could sell.
Sheriff's deputies said that William H. Cameron, Ricky Reed and David Leon Weaver were arrested as they were cutting up the tower and were charged with first-degree criminal mischief, according to jail records.