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Two charged in cellphone battery thefts
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Two men who claimed to be power company employees were arrested Tuesday for reportedly stealing more than $8,000 worth of batteries from cellphone towers in Oxford and Social Circle.

A report from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office said an employee received an alarm around 1 p.m. alerting him that someone had stolen batteries from the T-Mobile box in Social Circle. The employee reported to an NCSO deputy that the tower lost service around 2 p.m. When the employee reportedly responded to the scene around 3:20 p.m., he found the gates open and the boxes empty, so he called 911.

According to the report, when a deputy responded to the cell tower on Old Social Road, the employee said he’d received another alarm from a cell tower in Oxford. Another desputy was then sent to that tower on Ga. Highway 81 North.

Arriving at around 3:50 p.m., that deputy found two men — Ronald Jason Grantham, 40, of Jonesboro and James Crawford, 39, of College Park — in a white Dodge truck with a flatbed trailer.

The men reportedly told the deputy that they worked with Polaris Power and were changing batteries out at the cell tower.

However, after further investigation, deputies determined Grantham and Crawford did not work for the site, said Deputy Felicia Jefferson.
The two men reportedly had a damaged battery with them at the Oxford location, Jefferson said, that was matched via serial numbers with a damaged battery part left behind at the Social Circle location. That information reportedly gave probable cause for the arrests of the two men.

Jefferson said approximately $8,400 worth of batteries were stolen from the cell towers. Both men face a list of charges, including several counts of criminal trespassing, theft by taking and criminal attempt to commit a theft. Crawford was also charged with possession of marijuana less than an ounce.