Baltimore County police arrested a man they say was involved in thefts of copper statues in Pikesville and costly copper ground plates at four cellular telephone towers.
Michael Francis Griesser Jr. of the 3700 block of Roop Road in New Windsor, was arrested March 9, according to Lieutenant William Lally of the Baltimore County Police Department.
In each theft at the tower sites, Griesser allegedly took a copper grounding plate worth between $5,000 and $10,000, Lally said.
Those plates divert lightning strikes into the ground, Lally explained.
Plates were stolen from the following tower sites, county police spokeswoman Detective Cathy Batton said:
- 10200 block of Old Court Road in Pikesville
- 900 block of Miller Road in Parkton
- 21200 block of Old York Road in Parkton
- The unit block of Loveton Circle in Sparks
Detectives Heidi Ebbert and Joseph Cohan of the Pikesville precinct continue to investigate whether Griesser was involved in as many as 95 more thefts throughout the state and in southern Pennsylvania, Lally said.
Detectives found Griesser as they investigated another copper theft in Pikesville, Lally explained.
In December, Griesser allegedly was involved in an attempted from the front lawn of a home in the 8200 block of Arodene Road, Lally said.
"Detectives began looking into his involvement in the cell phone tower thefts as a result of that investigation," Lally said.
According to court documents, Griesser faces five counts of theft from $1,000 to less than $10,000, three counts of second-degree burglary and one count of fourth-degree burglary.
He is being held in the Baltimore County Detention Center, the documents state.
Thefts of copper have increased since the price of copper has risen, Lally said.
"The theft of copper and copper-related materials is driven by the dramatic increase in the wholesale price of copper due to the demand for copper in China for the production of electronic equipment," he explained.