Suspected copper thieves have toppled a 488-foot rod cell tower in Oklahoma, causing an estimated $500,000 in damage.

Wireless Estimator reports that either an individual or a group climbed the cell tower in Hugo, Choctaw County, to remove transmission lines, strip its copper, and sell it to a metal scrap dealer.

The tower was partially felled, as a guy wire was cut to remove transmission lines quickly. Only 180 feet of the tower was left standing.

Police tape
– Getty Images

In total, it's expected to cost $500,000 to replace the structure, a generator, and other equipment that was damaged, while Oklahoma’s KITX-FM radio station went off air.

The incident is being investigated by Choctaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Sheriff Terry Park didn't mince his words when talking about the situation.

“We’ve got to go back to sending all these crackheads to prison for a long, long time. Bury these worthless thieves in prison,” wrote Park, who wants the public to keep tabs on three-inch copper transmission lines in the back of a truck.

“Most likely, it’s not supposed to be there, so be on the lookout. Be aware of that—and then copper recycling companies. We need to hold them to make sure that they know this stuff is coming in, and it shouldn’t be,” Park said.

Copper theft isn't uncommon for the telecom industry, with residents in South Dallas, Texas, impacted by a two-week AT&T outage last month due to nearby copper thefts.

The value of copper has risen in the last few years, meaning that thefts of these cables have risen as a result too.

A man in Ghana was sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing telecom cables last year.

It's dangerous for the thieves too, with a 39-year-old killed when trying to cut into a copper power supply at an AM radio station tower in Tulsa County four years ago, where he was electrocuted.