T-Mobile tech delusion leads to hijacking of cell tower by a man with a Bible

T-Mobile tech delusion leads to hijacking of cell tower by a man with a Bible


An area man thinks he is a T-Mobile technician, climbs a cell phone tower, shouts he has a job to do, tampers with service. Sounds like a story from The Onion, but T-Mobile had to go through exactly one such ordeal, causing service disruption at the crossroad of Northwest 29th Street and 13th Avenue in Miami.

The 38-year-old Richard Smith climbed up the T-Mobile cell phone tower at 7 in the morning, reports WSVN, and shut the switch at the top. This caused the alarm to go off for actual T-Mobile technicians, who quickly got to the location to check out what’s happening.

Upon arrival, they saw the guy who climbed 150 feet to the top of the tower, brandishing a Bible and shouting “I’ve got a job to do, I’ve got to finish my job!” The person kept mentioning God and urging the first responders and T-Mobile techs to climb up and “see the view with me.”

He started throwing objects he detached from the tower down at the authorities who had gathered around to convince him to descend. The man wasn’t complying with the police, so it had to shut the tower area down for traffic, causing delivery disruptions for the surrounding businesses.


The way that he removed power supply clamps from the tower, avoiding touching the hot boxes, showed T-Mobile technicians that he might have had some knowledge or experience with the tower operations already. At the time, T-Mobile immediately issued a statement about the ongoing incident:

The police negotiation team spent the best part of four hours convincing Smith to come down, and he eventually agreed, got to the ground and actually thanked the first responders for their efforts to resolve the ordeal. He was charged with criminal mischief and a burglary of an occupied structure, which carried a fine of a thousand dollars.

According to other calculations, however, the disruption of T-Mobile‘s cell phone service, and the overall damage he caused by affecting local business in the area for five hours may have cost north of $500,000.


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