Spokane County Sheriff's deputies are investigating the theft of copper from a business near the intersection of Montgomery Ave. and Locust Road.
An employee for the company, which houses a cell phone tower for AT&T, Cricket and Nextel, said the site had been burglarized sometime in the past two weeks. Copper wire was stolen from the tower, pulled out of the ground and taken from buildings at the site.
The cost of repairs and replacement of the copper wire is estimated at $17,500.
The sheriff's office said that the copper theft at the cell phone tower is a dangerous act that impacts the ability of first responders who are dispatched in emergency situations.
"When you have a tower out, if someone calls 911 and they need our help and they need ambulance and fire, and they aren't able to get a location where they are at, you have a tower that's out like this, we don't have that capability to locate it," Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.
Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering a cash reward for information that could help lead to the arrest of a suspect in the case. You can call 1-800-222-TIPS or leave a tip on their website at www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org. Tips can be left anonymously.