Thieves steal large generator, other equipment from radio station in Washington County

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -- People rely on a local radio station to keep them informed, but a recent theft could hurt its ability to reach its loyal listeners. 

Last week thieves stole a massive generator from at the KWON AM 1400 transmitting site between Bartlesville and Dewey on Highway 123. 

If the power somehow went out, that generator would have kicked in and kept the station broadcasting to its listeners. 

"As long as PSO is continuing to supply us power, the listeners would never know that it's missing," operations manager Charlie Taraboletti said. "But as soon as power goes off at the transmitter site, if the transmitter goes off the air, we need (the generator) right then." 
 

Taraboletti said the thieves also damaged the building while stealing the generator. They also took an FM antenna as well as other equipment, including spools of heavy-duty cables. 

Sheriff's deputies in Washington County said they believe that it took some man power and planning to carry out the theft. 

"(The generator) is several hundred pounds. This thing was actually bolted to the floor," Sgt. Jon Copeland said. "It's obviously big enough and heavy enough that it would require at least two people, if not more, to actually move and hoist this thing out of the building." 

Washington County Crime Stoppers and KWON are each offering $1,000 to whoever can help catch and convict the thieves. 

The radio station remains on the air right now, but staff members said they need to replace the generator to make sure the signal never cuts out. 

"It's going to take a while to acquire and re-wire a generator in," Taraboletti said, "so, during that time, we're limited in what we can do in the worst possible situations that we would need to tell people what's going on." 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 918-338-4001 or Crime Stoppers at 918-336-CLUE. 

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