A Ruskin man has been arrested by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies for breaking in to several secured cell phone tower facilities in Hillsborough and surrounding counties to steal batteries. The total value of the batteries was approximately $12,000.

Cell tower batteries installed. Courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
Cell tower batteries installed. Courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

Deputies say that William Bingham, 40, entered a Gibsonton cell phone facility on Nov. 27 using Verizon access codes to get into the perimeter fence and the outbuilding. authorities say he removed 30 batteries used to power the cellular network at that tower. There was a brief interruption to cell and 911 service in the area.

Recovered stolen cell tower batteries from theft. Courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
Recovered stolen cell tower batteries from theft. Courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

On Dec. 8, Bingham is accused of entering another cell phone facility in Ruskin to remove 38 batteries from both a Verizon and T-Mobile building. The total value of the batteries was approximately $14,000. The network and 911 service were briefly interrupted in that also as well.

The batteries were each sold at a metal recycling yard.

Once deputies had Bingham in custody, he admitted to breaking in to other cell tower facilities in the Tampa, Polk County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hernando County, Manatee County and Sarasota County.

Deputies are still investigating and may add more suspects and charges in the near future.

Bingham is facing multiple counts of grand theft, dealing in stolen property, providing false verification of ownership to the metal recycler, interfering with utilities, and burglary.