Man accused of stealing cable from phone tower invokes names of Ben Franklin, John Hancock in attempt to avoid arrest

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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – Rowan County deputies had an interesting experience with a man they say was attempting to steal thousands of dollars worth of coaxial cable from a local cellphone tower.

According to the report, deputies received a call about a suspicious person and pickup truck at a cell tower site on G. Goodnight Road near Highway 150 on Thursday afternoon. When the deputy arrived, he found Douglas Corbett Lee, 43, of Fayetteville.

Lee told the deputy that he was working for the company that owned that the tower, and that he was removing “dead wire.” The deputy asked for identification and credentials. Lee went to his truck and showed the deputy two binders. One of the binders contained what the deputy believed to be “photocopied” pages, the other contained information about laws and the United States Constitution.

Deputies were able to make contact with T-Mobile. A representative told the deputies that there was no work being done at the tower, and that there had been a “sudden outage” of service at the site. They said that the man was not an employee or contract worker, and that he was trespassing. Lee then told the deputies that he was the owner of the tower.

As Lee continued speaking with deputies, they say he claimed to be a law enforcement officer working for the Postmaster General, and that he was operating under “nautical and marine law.”

A search of the truck turned up two marijuana vaping cartridges, a small amount of marijuana, and a glass smoking pipe.

Lee was arrested, charged with two counts of felony larceny, one count of misdemeanor injury to personal property, one count of possessing up to 1/2 ounce of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, first degree trespassing, and impersonation of a law enforcement officer. Bond was set at $15,000.

While at the Magistrate’s Office, deputies say Lee cited “Article Two of the Declaration of Independence,” and said that his work as Postmaster General was authorized by John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin.

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