Crime & Courts

3 arrested in thefts from cell towers

Brandon Jackson Kirby
Brandon Jackson Kirby Gaston County Jail

Three Gaston County residents have been arrested in connection with thefts from cellphone towers in Lincoln, Gaston and Mecklenburg counties.

John Samuel Aldridge, 38, of Mount Holly, was arrested Tuesday in Gaffney, S.C., on outstanding warrants involving several of the thefts.

Lincoln County sheriff’s Detective Frank Runyon returned him to Lincoln County, where warrants were served on him.

In April and May, a number of cell tower sites were broken into, and air conditioning units were targeted by thieves, investigators said.

Aldridge faces charges in connection with an April 26 break-in at a cell tower in the 3400 block of Fox Meadow Lane in Iron Station. Air conditioning units and ground wires for the tower had been removed, and total property loss amounted to at least $150,000, investigators said.

Aldridge also was charged in a break-in at an AT&T cell tower site on Sadler Road May 12, where ground wires and air conditioning units were taken, and with causing $10,000 damage and stealing air conditioning units at a site on County Line Trail May 1.

Warrants also were served on Aldridge for similar incidents in Lincolnton, and in Mecklenburg and Gaston counties.

He was charged with six felony counts of larceny, one felony count of breaking and entering a building, three felony counts of possession of stolen goods, two misdemeanor counts each of first-degree trespassing and injury to real property, and one misdemeanor count each of injury to personal property and interfering with an electronic monitoring device.

Aldridge was jailed with bail set at $251,000.

Two other suspects have been arrested in connection with the thefts.

Penny Moore Self, 40, of Mount Holly, was charged with one felony count each of larceny and possession of stolen goods. She was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Brandon Jackson Kirby, 34, of Lowell, was charged with felony larceny and several other charges. He was in the Gaston County jail on Wednesday with bail set at $75,000.

Marusak: 704-358-5067;

Twitter: @jmarusak