- Associated Press - Thursday, December 14, 2017

RUSKIN, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say thefts of batteries at cellphone towers in Florida caused brief interruptions to a county 911 system.

A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office statement says 40-year-old William Jay Bingham of Ruskin stole batteries that powered cellular signals at cellphone towers in Gibsonton and Ruskin over the last two weeks.

Cpl. Larry McKinnon said thefts briefly interrupted the cellular network including the 911 system.

McKinnon said Bingham sold the batteries at a metal recycling facility. The batteries were valued at roughly $26,000.

McKinnon said Bingham told investigators he also stole batteries from other cellphone towers across the Tampa Bay area.

Bingham faces several charges, including multiple counts of grand theft and dealing in stolen property. He was held Thursday on $38,000 bail. Jail records did not list an attorney for him.

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