AM Ground Systems Company

WCIN Part 2

Cincinnati, OH

June 2007

We originally built WCIN in February 2006.  The station was in receivership and apparently there was no continuing engineering support after Jim Stitt (Jim Stitt & Associates / JMS) finished the build out and tune-up.  The receiver operating the station spent the bare minimum on engineering support after the license to cover was filed.  A third party engineer performing due diligence on a nearby 2-way/cell tower, observed monitor point readings MAGNITUDES out of tolerance.  When contacted to investigate, JMS discovered that the antenna monitor readings were totally out of tolerance and then discovered the vandalism to a couple of the 5 towers. 

We provided an estimate to repair the damage in January 2007.  The estimate was updated and submitted numerous times over the following 6 months while the array continued to operate under an STA.  Finally a change of receivers was ordered by the court and serious movement was made to get the array back into compliance.  We, of course, received one of those "how quick can you get here?" calls from Jim and the shuffle began.

The former receiver/operators were only interested in keeping  the station on the air and had been operating it at a serious loss.  Of course no buyer wanted to purchase a station that was losing money. 

The new receiver was to operate the station and turn a profit.  What a concept!

Upon our arrival in June 2007, we discovered damage that hadn't been documented the previous winter.  The vandals had returned.  We estimated that the damage had occurred sometime in the past few weeks.  Little grass was growing in the exposed soil indicating that the soil hadn't been exposed for very long.  The estimate was updated again and work proceeded.

As is typical of AM site vandalism, the thieves recycle value is only about 2-5% of the repair costs.  The materials stolen is not the main expense in repairing vandalism.  The repairs to the array took almost 1/3rd as long to complete as did building the entire array.  Admittedly, we had a lot more equipment and personnel on-site for the construction.

Also typical was the site lighting was damaged.  A rock was thrown thru the utility light at some point in the event.

Like closing the barn door after the cows escape...  Site security has been improved.

I am not aware of any arrests in this case although the investigating officer seemed to have some names in mind.

See our site security guide HERE.

 





The fence locks had been broken to make entry to the tower base area. This tower had the most extensive damage but probably contrubited less than 10% of the total copper weight stolen. Many radials were cut at the tower base. The tower base straps were left intact. The cut radials were then pulled up out to the edge of the fence and approximately 30 pulled up out to some distance from the tower. The thieves spent quite some time shoveling the gravel aside and cutting the landscape fabric.






Substantial work went into moving the thick layer of gravel and landscape fabric. The copper screen was cut and torn but not removed.


















Radials were cut from the tower base strap.






Numerous other radials were dug up along the tower fence perimeter.






The thieves dug along the fence line to locate the radials and then cut them. I iimagine that it didn't take long to realize that this wasn't a very "profitable" venture.






Steve cooling off. Or showing off...






Steve working on the area between the TX building and one fo the nearby towers. The thieves pulled the strap from around the building/container and cut the radials at the tower fence.






Big Bird looking on patiently






The driveway in front of the container. It appeared that the vandals located the building strap and ripped it out with a vehicle. There was NO site gate or security of any kind beyond a single security light. That light was broken with a rock






A repair strap soon to be buried along one of the tower fences.






When the vandals cut/pulled the building strap, they removed approximately 25% of the radials on this tower.






Repairing a broken radial.






The driveway area with radials repaired and covered again.












Radials cut from the tower base strap.












A well placed rock "killed" this security light. The unit is a typical utility supplied security light. If other lighting was used AND alarmed, the thieves might have been caught in the act.






The gate lock had been beaten off. The chainlink fences had no extra security chains. The standard fence latch was all that secured the gates.









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