Coast Guard Rescue 21 tower vandalized, damage set at $100,000

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. – The new Coast Guard Rescue 21 tower near Shelter Cove, Calif. was reported vandalized June 23, 2009.

Coast Guard Group Humboldt Bay is cooperating with the proper investigating law enforcement authorities on this case. The damage will not impact current Coast Guard operations or search and rescue capabilities.

The tower is part of the Coast Guard’s new search and rescue communication system designed to assist mariners in distress through state-of-the-art communication equipment and computer and satellite technology. This system represents a crucial infrastructure upgrade to the old system which was installed in the 1970s. It will provide a more effective and efficient search and rescue capability to Lost Coast mariners.

The Humboldt County Sheriff Department reports that deputies are investigating the  vandalism that caused more than $100,000 in damages to a U.S. Coast Guard communications tower. Yesterday morning deputies were called to a construction site located on Kelly Rd. and Toth Rd. in Shelter Cove where a 120-foot communications tower is under construction.

The 120′ radio tower is located inside a fenced compound. The compound houses several additional structures, including a building – commonly called the State Parks building – that houses radio communication systems for several state and local fire agencies and state and local law enforcement agencies.

Upon arriving at the scene, deputies learned that a suspect had fired multiple high-powered rifle rounds into the radio tower, damaging one of the support legs. The construction company manager estimated the damage to the tower at $100,000. Additionally, several rounds were fired at the State Parks building causing another $10,000 worth in damages.

Construction workers reported they had been working at the site until about 9:00 Monday night. Upon returning Tuesday morning, they discovered the damage. Deputies recovered approximately 25 shell casings nearby. Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251.

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