Arrest made in thefts, vandalism of towers

A manhunt Thursday night led to the arrest of a 43-year-old Wolf Creek man on charges he was involved in $250,000 in vandalism and metal theft at mountaintop communication towers in Jackson, Douglas and Josephine counties.

A Jackson County Grand Jury indicted Ian Anthony Fleming on charges of four counts of burglary and four counts of aggravated theft.

The indictment followed an monthslong investigation into burglaries, vandalism and thefts in the King Mountain area near Wolf Creek.

Buildings affected included those owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation, Pacific Power, the Federal Aviation Administration, television stations and other agencies.

Fleming's arrest followed a lengthy search near Wolf Creek after the suspect ran from a vehicle into the woods, according to the OSP.

The OSP is continuing its investigation. OSP Lt. Gregg Hastings said he wouldn't reveal whether there could be additional arrests.

He said the investigation uncovered a lot of vandalism and damage to communications towers.

"There have been worse situations," he said. "But this is pretty significant for the property involved and the damage."

The OSP, Grants Pass police K-9 unit and Bureau of Land Management officers arrested Fleming Thursday night.

A trooper found a broken-down pickup along the road that matched a vehicle description, and a man and two women were seen fleeing into the woods away from the pickup.

After a five-hour search, the officers found Fleming and the two women. One of the women, Mariah Jean Boyer, 21, of Wolf Creek, was arrested on an outstanding drug warrant, OSP troopers said. The other woman, who wasn't identified by OSP, was released.

The OSP began its investigation on June 22, after a report of vandalism to an ODOT repeater site. During the investigation, the OSP discovered other thefts and vandalism at other towers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Senior Trooper Wayne Merritt at 541-440-3334.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.

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