Believing he’s a T-Mobile tech, Florida man climbs to their sector, causing up to $500K in damage

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator


RIP AND REPLACE—A disturbed Florida man climbed a cell tower in Miami and attempted to rip off T-Mobile cables from their antenna ports. The man told a T-Mobile technician below, “God bless you, why don’t you see the view from here?” authorities said. It is unknown if he caused damage to other carriers’ antennas since he was seen climbing at multiple levels. Hours later, a tower crew was on-site repairing and replacing damaged equipment.

In an event that seems to increase in frequency throughout America, on Wednesday in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami, Florida, 38-year-old Richard Smith was arrested after climbing a cell tower without safety gear, causing extensive damage and a significant service outage.


Richard Smith climbed down the tower, shook hands with police and rescue personnel, and was promptly arrested for burglary of an occupied structure and criminal mischief. 

The incident started between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. when Smith, who believed he was a T-Mobile worker, embarked on his ascent.

The tower, a 127-foot self support four-carrier structure owned by Crown Castle, became the scene of a dramatic few hours as Miami Police and first responders worked to persuade Smith to come down. 

According to the police report, the damage caused by his actions is estimated to be between $100,000 and $500,000. The disruption led to a widespread cellular outage for customers. 

However, industry observers who watched the event on a YouTube video and TV news broadcasts said the high end of the estimate appears overly inflated.

According to Miami Police, the ordeal began when Smith shut down the primary power source at the tower’s base, directly impacting T-Mobile. A technician was alerted to the power loss around 5 a.m. and encountered Smith, who greeted him from above about 6 a.m.

Despite the worker’s immediate call to authorities, Smith continued to dismantle communication cables connected to the antennas, defying police requests to descend until around 11 a.m.

Throughout the incident, Smith, who resides in Orange City, showed no intention of self-harm but instead claimed he was “not done working yet.” 

Authorities said his adeptness at navigating the tower suggests prior experience with such structures. However, videos only show that he was able to climb the tower, reach out, and try to rip off cables at its antenna connection.

Upon descending after approximately four hours of negotiation, Smith was taken into custody and arrested. Jail records show Smith is facing charges of burglary of an occupied structure and criminal mischief.