3 men arrested for parachuting off Minnesota cellphone tower

Police on routine patrol spotted the base jumpers climbing the AT&T communications tower in Wyoming, Minnesota, Sunday night. http://kare11.tv/2sztPP3

WYOMING, Minn.  - Three men were arrested after climbing to the top of a cellphone tower in Wyoming and parachuting to the ground.

According to a criminal complaint, an officer noticed a vehicle in the parking lot at the AT&T communication tower at approximately 10:20 p.m. on Sunday. The officer found it unusual because he had only seen one other vehicle parked in that lot at night in approximately two years.

While searching the property, officers found three men climbing the tower. Wyoming Police Chief Paul Hoppe estimates the tower is several hundred feet tall.

Officers ordered them to climb down from the tower. According to Chief Hoppe, the men ignored the commands and eventually base jumped off the top of the tower—using parachutes to safely land on the ground.

Police arrested 26-year-old Aaron Stuyvenberg, of St. Paul, 51-year-old Rollin Geiker Jr., of Maple Grove, and 44-year-old Karl Anthony Lips-Eakins, of South St. Paul.

"Unbelievable," said Carole Jones, who lives near the cellphone tower. "Because my father used to be a steeplejack and he was up there so he knows how high that is up there. It's a long way up there."

Chisago County Attorney Janet Reiter tells KARE 11 the men were charged with trespassing on critical public service facilities, a gross misdemeanor, as well as disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

Chief Hoppe said the men could face additional charges or consequences from the Department of Homeland Security for trespassing on a public utility site.

"I think in today's social environment, when terrorism and everything else that goes on across our country... we take it very seriously when people are trespassing on a major public utility facility such as this," Chief Hoppe said in a phone interview with KARE 11. 

It wasn't clear if the three men had retained lawyers.
 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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