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Man caught on camera cutting satellite cables, taking TV stations off air in Florida

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 10:10 AM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/Gray News) - Security cameras captured a man vandalizing broadcasting equipment at a Gray Television station in Florida, taking its channels off the air, WJHG reported.

Video shows the person severing and removing cables from nine satellites around 9:30 p.m. Sunday outside WJHG’s offices, taking its eight stations off air.

Crews worked all day and into the night Monday to make repairs and get them back on the air.

A WJHG employee first noticed signals were out Sunday and went outside to check. The employee said he found a man he didn’t recognize near one of the satellite dishes.

The man told the employee he was with Tyndall Air Force Base and was told to cut wires due to a power issue, saying he was tasked because he lived nearby and was with the Navy. The man then ran away, last seen heading toward Front Beach Road.

“This person knew what he was doing and knew how to disable and make it very difficult to repair the satellite dishes,” said Ulysses Carlini, WJHG-TV’s General Manager. “This is not just a random act of vandalism. The individual was methodical in disabling and strategically cutting cable that linked all of our satellite dishes to our facility.”

The WJHG employee said the man he saw was dressed in a dark jacket and camouflage pants. Bay County Sheriff’s deputies responded Sunday night but did not find anyone matching the description.

“So we are asking for the public’s help. That’s so important that you take action to hopefully avoid another situation like this in the future,” Carlini said.

Sheriff Tommy Ford said they are searching for the suspect, and they could face serious federal charges.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the Bay County Sheriff’s Office at 850-747-4700.

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