FONTANA – Two men, one on parole, suspected of stealing cell tower batteries were arrested this week by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s detectives, who may have solved a nearly year-long series of thefts.
Gregory Lewis Stires, 51, a transient, and Sean Anthony Detomaso, 48, of Fontana were traced by investigators to the neighboring city of Bloomington, the site of the most recent theft, and arrested on September 26.
They appeared in court on Tuesday. Bail set for both at $50,000. Detomaso, meanwhile, has a variety of other charges, including drug-related incidents, which will lead to an appearance at Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court on October 5.
Stires has a background of criminal conduct as well, having been released from prison under the state’s Post Release Community Supervision program.
Over the past year, according to reports, cell tower sites from various companies that provide cell phone service throughout San Bernardino County, have experienced an increase in battery thefts. The losses, according to reports, have totaled over $50,000.
On a follow-up investigation, detectives showed up in Bloomington on Sunday, the site of the previous theft, and found Stires and Detomaso at the location. Detectives found suspected stolen batteries in both of their vehicles.
They tracked the men to the Fontana intersection of Cherry Avenue and Slover Avenue, just outside of Bloomington and arrested both. They discovered additional evidence that tied both suspects in the theft of batteries from T-Mobile cell tower sites.
Reports cited that Stires was in possession of a “homemade” manufactured tool that opens storage units to the batteries, which are used to support the sites with power in case of emergencies.
Officials explained that loss of batteries can affect the ability to request emergency assistance. Both suspects were thought to have stolen batteries from a tower site at 1659 North Cajon Boulevard in San Bernardino, a crime reported at 10:20 a.m. on Sunday.
During the investigation, it was discovered that Stiles had violated the terms of his PRCS release for possession of known stolen property. The state had expedited his release under the PRCS, having been a non-violent, non-sexual and non-serious offender, serving a reduced sentence.
The violation of his terms left him with a no-bail warrant.