Our network

Thieves knock out tornado sirens | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Thieves knock out tornado sirens

HENRY COUNTY, Ga -- Thieves have hit a new low in Henry County and they may be putting people's lives at risk. They're stealing power equipment from tornado sirens rendering them silent.

Early warning is critical to surviving a tornado. That's why many counties, like Henry County, have tornado warning sirens. They have 48 of them scattered across the county so every resident can be warned to take cover.

But two sirens, one in Ellenwood on Swan Lake Drive and one in Stockbridge on Hearn Road, are silent because they're missing their power supplies. "Say if we had a warning during that time, that population wouldn't have got a warning," said County EMA Director Don Ash.

The power supplies are at the base of the siren tower and contain wiring and a backup battery. Director Ash said the boxes weigh about 900-pounds and cost about $6,000 to replace. It's money the county did not budget for. "Twelve thousand dollars that we didn't have but twelve thousand dollars that could have went to better needs in our community," Ash said.

The sirens are located along road sides in plain sight and Henry County Police are hoping someone saw someone stealing them. They are also hoping the crime doesn't become a trend. "For whatever money they're getting for the recycling or the sale of the equipment, it costs ten, twenty-times to replace," Henry County Police Captain Joey Smith said.

Ash said the county is already taking steps to prevent the crime from happening in the future by adding monitoring equipment at the towers. He also said the county will put alert systems on the power supplies so if someone tampers with them the sirens will go off.

You can follow Kevin on Twitter @krowson11alive and like him on Facebook