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Arrests tied to area vandalism at Bevcomm

By Staff | Feb 4, 2008

County authorities didn’t waste any time in arresting those responsible for the more than $100,000 in vandalism to telecommunications sites and equipment owned by five local companies.

Faribault County Sheriff Mike Gormley says the vandalism of Bevcomm equipment on Jan. 11 has been solved with the recent arrest of several suspects involved in similar incidents in six other counties.

Gormley says Martin County Sgt. Mike Anderson called him about information they obtained while interrogating the suspects.

“They have admitted to the damage done in our county. Once we get the investigative reports we’ll wait and see what direction the county attorney wants to go,” says Gormley.

The sheriff didn’t know how many of those apprehended took part in the Faribault County vandalism.

Bevcomm president Bill Eckles praised the work of local law enforcement. He says the suspects were arrested before his company was able to post a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

Eckles says the company was ready to pay the reward if needed.

“Absolutely. This kind of crime is something we take pretty seriously,” he says.

The remote communications sites were located in Pilot Grove, Jo Daviess and Blue Earth City townships.

Damage to the rural boxes was placed at about $20,000. The vandals pried into the rural boxes and destroyed electronic wiring.

Bevcomm officials estimate that 150 rural customers in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa were without Internet and telephone service, including 911 calling.

Reports of damage involved telecommunications sites of Frontier Communications, Alltel, a Star-Com communications tower, a Northern Natural Gas microwave-monitoring control tower and cable to four satellite dishes.

Those arrested have appeared in Martin County District Court and face numerous felony counts of criminal damage to property and burglary.