Landscapers reportedly realized the tower was missing when they arrived to do work at the site where it was located — and didn't see it
A 200-foot tall AM radio tower has gone missing — leaving the Alabama station, police and others shocked and confused.
The stunning disappearance was discovered Friday morning when landscapers arrived to do work at the site where the tower stood, according to NBC News and AL.com.
WJLX’s general manager Brett Elmore said one of the workers told him that wires were “all over the ground” and the tower was “gone,” per AL.com.
"What do you mean the tower is gone? Are you sure you're in the right place? I actually used more colorful words than that," Elmore recalled to NBC News.
“I have been in the radio business, around it all my life and then in it professionally for 26 years” he told FOX affiliate WBRC, “and I can say I have never heard of anything like this.”
The tower was planted behind the Mar-Jac Poultry processing plant in Jasper and surrounded by a thick wooded area, according to AL.com.
“You would have to know it’s back there,’’ Elmore said. “It’s hard to get to and there’s only one way in and one way out. It’s a dead-end road.”
Town Square Media market President David DuBose said all facilities are “fenced, gated, locked with no trespassing signs” and have motion-detecting cameras that alert them if movement is detected, according to ABC affiliate WBMA-DT.
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A nearby building was also vandalized. Every piece of equipment inside the building, including a transmitter, were taken from the site, NBC News reported.
Their AM station is now down, though the FM station is still up and running — and Elmore estimates it will take hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the AM side back up to full speed, per AL.com.
The general manager filed a theft report with Jasper police, who were also shocked that the tower was taken. “They said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ ” he recalled.
The station is now working with the Federal Communications Commission to get permission to keep their FM station running while a new AM tower is built, according to WBRC and NBC News.
“Unfortunately, we are uninsured,” Elmore said. “We're a small market station, but we're going to get back, and we're going to be back on the air as soon as we possibly can.”
Sharon Tinsley, President of the Alabama Broadcasters Association, said the tower’s disappearance could have become a public safety issue, according to WBMA-DT.
"What if there were a crisis going on right now that the community needs to hear information from local sources on a local radio station and they can't?” said Tinsley, who has reached out to people in hopes of finding someone willing to help WJLX replace the items stolen from them.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Jasper police at 205-221-2121.