POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - The Butler County Sheriff’s Department spent more than a week without the proper radio communication they rely on, and their investigation led them to a local man’s home.
Chief Deputy Wesley Popp described a noise as static sounding, that came over the radios. He said that prohibited the department from using their system.
“It’s a big inconvenience. We couldn’t be dispatched to anything or talk on scene. We had to end up going to a different channel to be able to communicate with each other till we got this figured out,” said Chief Deputy Popp.
He said a tip led them to the home of a Butler County man and equipment in his garage.
According to Popp, police discovered a radio, set to the Butler County Sheriff Department’s frequency. With it, they also reportedly found a scanner and books and magazines titled, “Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance” and “How to Spy on the World.”
“He had the catalog, Radio Shack catalog, that he was ordering this stuff from. And ended up getting it to his house, put it together. He had an outside antenna that was kind of homemade. Thankfully he wasn’t a professional," said Chief Deputy Popp.
According to Popp, a hair tie wrapped around the talk button of the radio caused it to constantly transmit a noise. He said they arrested the man on September 4, who gave them a different reason for the equipment and set-up.
“He wanted to test and see why his television was getting noise, which that would have nothing to do with transmitting over a radio,” said Chief Deputy Popp.
He said the jammed radios caused a lot of frustration, but the outcome could have been much worse.
“Highway patrol if they were close, they wouldn’t be able to assist, because they’re not hearing it. Same thing with city. If it was something close to the city, they wouldn’t be able to assist because it was our own separate channel that only we could talk on." said Chief Deputy Popp.
Popp said once police seized that equipment, their radio system went back to normal.
He also said investigators plan to seek federal charges against the man, who’s been released after a 24-hour hold in jail.