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Reward offered in tower sabotage

A high-voltage electric transmission tower near Cabot was sabatoged last week. The FBI is currently investigating in the incident. (Photo by Ed Galucki)
A high-voltage electric transmission tower near Cabot was sabatoged last week. The FBI is currently investigating in the incident. (Photo by Ed Galucki)

Still with no suspects in sight, officials have offered a cash reward for information leading to arrests in the Aug. 21 sabotage of the high-voltage electric transmission tower near Cabot.

In a press release, Randall C. Coleman, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Arkansas, announced a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for the damage.

The collapse of a portion of the tower led to the closing of Bill Foster Memorial Highway (Arkansas Highway 321 between Arkansas Highways 89 and 5) for most of Aug. 21 and part of Thursday.

Traffic in portions of Cabot gridlocked Wednesday afternoon as commuters who usually traveled the then-closed highway had to use alternate routes to get home.

School officials said the district’s automated notification system minimized the effect of the highway closing.

School buses were rerouted, and parents who usually travel on Bill Foster Highway were warned away before traffic was snarled.

Students and staff at the Academic Center of Excellence were allowed access to the campus through the Kerr Station Road intersection.

In the press release, Coleman repeated that the electric transmission line in the Holland Bottoms area had been intentionally downed.

Investigators found a cable had been attached to the tower and then was laid across nearby railroad tracks in an apparent attempt to use a train to pull the tower down.

Someone may have seen individuals or vehicles in the area during the early morning hours of Aug. 21, 2013, or may have heard someone removing bolts from the base of the tower, which would have created substantial noise, the press release noted.

It is believed the persons responsible for the incident would be familiar with the Holland Bottoms area, and may also have above-average knowledge or skill in electrical matters, Coleman said.

“Although no injuries resulted from this act, the placement of the line created a risk to the community and to the trains using the track,” Coleman said in the release.

The FBI, Cabot Police Department and Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, along with Entergy Arkansas and Union Pacific Railroad, continue to investigate the incident, the press release noted.

Anyone with any information that might be related to this matter should contact FBI Little Rock Field Office at 501-221-9100 or by email to Little.Rock@ic.fbi.gov, the press release noted.

“We emphasize that regardless of how insignificant you think your information might be, or whether you think we already are aware of it, we want to hear your information. Sometimes the most minor detail can assist investigators and public safety officials,” Coleman said.

Any photographs or video of the area of the incident are also requested.

“We remind the public of the reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for this incident,” Coleman said.

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