HAZARD — A Hazard man was arrested last week and charged with receiving metal stolen from a radio antenna, which effectively destroyed the $50,000 piece of equipment and landed the man in jail.
The Perry County Sherriff’s Office arrested 33-year-old Hank Bradley Baker after he was alleged to have attempted to sell metal that had come from a new antenna belonging to the WSGS radio station in Hazard. The antenna had not yet been installed, but was sitting in the station’s tower building on Buffallo Mountain at the time of the theft. While a portion of the equipment was missing, much of the antenna was left at the scene.
“Through our investigation we discovered that some of the items had been removed while the bulk of them had been left up there,” said Tony Eversole, Chief Deputy for the Sheriff’s Office. “Then we contacted all of the salvage yards in nine counties to give them a heads up what to look for.”
An employee at one of the scrapyards later contacted the sheriff’s office and reported that they had received a piece of what seemed like odd metal matching the description of the pieces of the antenna. Eversole said the antenna was made of brass and copper in three inch pipe and large fittings.
“It actually mounts to the tower itself, and that was what was stolen,” said Eversole, adding that deputies were able to quickly arrest Bradley and charge him in connection with the stolen metal.
The new antenna was valued at $50,000, and the piece removed was worth about $100, but its removal made the entire antenna unusable. Operators at WSGS said that they are going to be filing an insurance claim but were not confident about getting back the full amount of the antenna.
They were, however, very appreciative of the sheriff’s office’s diligent work and updates on the case. While they are disappointed with the turnout, they are happy to have all of the pieces of the antenna back, even if it is no longer a viable piece of equipment. An elaborate security system has since been installed at the tower site to prevent any future theft.
Bradley was lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail, where he is facing charges of receiving stolen property over $10,000, as well three traffic offenses. Eversole noted that other charges in the case are pending.