News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Two Charged For Copper Wire Theft At Sea-Tac Airport

Theft Disabled FAA Lights, Creating Potential Safety Risk for Aircraft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2013

Two men who allegedly stole thousands of feet of copper wire from runway light towers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are in custody facing federal charges, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  JERAMIE HARMS, 28, will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle today at 1:30 p.m.  TIMOTHY LYNCH, 50, is in custody in King County, Washington, on an unrelated charge and will be scheduled for his appearance in the coming weeks.  The theft was discovered on February 12, 2013, when a Port of Seattle employee noticed damage to the fence surrounding the runway light structures near South 188th Street and Des Moines Memorial Drive.  In total, approximately 7,200 feet of copper cable was stolen from the FAA light towers, rendering them inoperable and potentially posing a threat to airline safety.

According to the criminal complaint unsealed today, HARMS and LYNCH entered a secured area of Sea-Tac airport and removed copper cable from the light towers.  HARMS first came to the attention of law enforcement in connection with a King County burglary.  While being questioned by law enforcement, information was developed linking HARMS and LYNCH to the wire theft.  The copper wire cost more than $77,000 when it was installed in 2008.  HARMS was arrested yesterday afternoon. 

The men are charged with theft of public property which is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations.  A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force which includes officers from the Port of Seattle Police Department, the Seattle Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Executive Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Bates.

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