NCSO arrests 2 for allegedly stealing cell tower batteries

COVINGTON — Two men apparently posing as employees with a power company have been charged with stealing more than $8,000 worth of batteries from cell phone towers.

Sometime around 1 p.m. Tuesday, an employee with T-Mobile received an alarm from a cell tower located on Old Social Circle Road in Social Circle. He reported to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office that the tower lost service around 2 p.m., and when he arrived at the location around 3:30 p.m., he discovered the gates were opened and that batteries had been stolen from the T-Mobile box, according to the NCSO incident report.

Then, around 3:50 p.m. that same day, deputies were called to a theft in progress at the T-Mobile cell tower on Ga. Highway 81 North in Oxford.

When the deputy arrived, he discovered two men — Ronald Jason Grantham, 40, of 2546 Benton Drive in Jonesboro, and James Andrews Crawford, 30, of 1802 Walker Ave. in College Park — were at the site of the tower with a white Dodge crew cab pickup truck, the incident report states.

When questioned, the two men allegedly told the deputy that they worked for Polaris Power and were there to change out the batteries at the cell tower.

“As the deputy looking at batteries and taking inventory, he noticed that one of the batteries was missing a piece, so he contacted the crime scene investigator who was at the Social Circle scene and asked if he noticed the piece from the battery there at the other location,” said NCSO Deputy Felicia Jefferson. “The crime scene investigator was able to find that piece and it matched up as part of the other battery recovered at the Oxford location.”

Jefferson said deputies determined that 24 batteries were stolen, which were worth approximately $8,400.

Grantham and Crawford were both arrested and charged with criminal attempt to commit theft, theft and criminal trespass. Crawford was also charged with possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce.