Tornado Siren Sabotage Suspect Captured - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Tornado Siren Sabotage Suspect Captured

A suspect has been arrested for sabotaging tornado sirens earlier this month.

Police arrested 33-year-old Christopher Lawrence Smith, Jr. at a Scotland Park Motel on October 25th.  Smith was charged for Criminal Mischief under $20,000 and two counts of Impairing Public Communication.

On October 13th, the box at McKinney and Rowland was broken into and both batteries were stolen.  The same box was broken into on the 16th, but the suspects accidentally hit the tornado siren button, and were scared off before they got inside. Significant damage was done to the box.

Another tornado siren battery was stolen on October 16th from the location of Ireland & Perigo.

According to the arrest affidavit, Wichita Falls Police were dispatched to the 1900 block of McKinney Road due to the fact the tornado warning sirens had sounded at that location without reason.

Traffic engineering had responded first and found that the electronics cabinet controlling the siren had been pried open, causing extensive damage to the box itself. Police believe the suspect had activated the system while prying the box open.

According to the affidavit, Christopher Smith is accused of stealing the batteries out of the box and selling the batteries to a local scrap yard.

Traffic engineers say the box was damaged to the point that they had to remove the batteries and render it inoperable until the box can be replaced. That siren will not be able to warn citizens in that area if there is a tornado or other disaster until the box is repaired. 

Smith is being held on a $50,000 bond.


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