Tailgating Pot Smoker Suspected Of Tower Battery Thefts

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Oh, wow man! This is a case of a buzz gone bust. It started off as a normal traffic stop. Deputies in Carroll County, GA pulled over motorist Dexter Sterling James of Stone Mountain, GA. on January 27 for following too closely. But investigators now believe James, 45, could be connected to a string of thefts at cell towers ranging from Texas to North Carolina.

When a deputy approached the newer model silver Chevrolet Silverado, he smelled marijuana. James, who was wearing a brightly colored safety vest and white construction hat, also had a tower company employee’s lanyard dangling from his neck. (It later turned out the credentials were vintage, tower company officials told authorities James hadn’t worked for the company for at least four years.) With consent, deputies searched the vehicle — which was complete with a yellow strobe siren on the top of the cab — and found a small amount of marijuana and a pair of bolt cutters and other tools. They also found several large cell batteries in the bed of the truck, according to the Times-Georgian newspaper of Carrollton.

James said he used the tool in his work as a tower worker. The Times-Georgian reported the vehicle search also allegedly turned up three notebooks, all of which contained location coordinates to tower sites from Texas to the East Coast. “One of the locations in a notebook was a tower in Cherokee County that was recently broken into and had batteries stolen,” said Capt. Jeff Richards. “We can’t yet say that he was responsible for that incident, but he could be facing charges in Cherokee County as well. We also found some pawn shops in the area that documented him selling some of the same kind of batteries that were stolen.” Richards added, “These are not your typical batteries. I recognized them because they are the same ones we use in our jail as a backup power source if the power goes out. They are pretty large and expensive batteries.”

James is being held at the Carroll County jail on $5,000 bond.

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