Earlier this month, police were called to the scene of several suspicious cell tower fires in Mississippi. In each case, it was determined that the fires were intentionally set and equipment was damaged. As Hawaii News Now reports, ATF agents became involved when interstate commerce was disrupted. Evidence quickly led agents to Manuel Alejandro DeJesus, the suspected perpetrator of the attacks on the cell towers.
Agent Jason Denham of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Gulfport office, said that at least three of the incidents have been linked to DeJesus. The suspect is currently facing federal charges for damages inflicted on the facility in Moss Point, a city near the Alabama border.
Initially responding to reports of a transformer fire, Moss Point Fire Department personnel arriving at the scene discovered something more sinister. The source of the fire was a generator inside a locked cell tower fence. A survey of the area located cut wires and pieces of the generator that had been forcibly removed and strewn about the property. Several bottles stuffed with rags were also found, according to Hawaii News Now.
The damaged cell tower is located behind a Comfort Inn and a Cracker Barrel and ATF agents were able to view surveillance footage recorded by the local businesses. A truck caught on camera was traced back to DeJesus prompting agents to issue a search warrant. They found a GPS device that traveled to the fire site, wire cutters, and a handwritten sign purportedly criticizing American Tower.
Manuel Alejandro DeJesus is now facing federal charges for the fire and destruction at the Moss Point cell tower.