Three men were charged Friday with damaging two Qwest utility boxes in St. Paul and disrupting phone and telecommunications services in the neighborhood between the boxes.
Levi T. Glennie, 21, of Hastings; Christopher D. Walter, 26, of Andover, and Ian D. McCombs, 22, were each charged with two felonies: damage to property of critical public service and possession of burglary tools.
The complaint, filed in Ramsey County District Court, said police officers sent to View Street and Jefferson Avenue late Wednesday learned from a witness that two men had broken into a Qwest box, cut wires and left in a blue van.
Other witnesses told police they had seen two men tampering with a utility box at 249 Erie St. earlier the same night and leaving in a blue van. The two utility boxes are about three-quarters of a mile apart.
Police spotted and stopped the van a short time later. The three defendants were inside. Officers also found a laptop computer.
"You can't take that, that is my work computer, I work for a nuclear power plant," McCombs told police, according to the complaint. Walter said he was a Comcast employee.
Police found a hammer and several screwdrivers on Glennie and more tools, including a lock-picking kit, in the van.
Although the complaint said that a Qwest technician estimated service was disrupted to about 300,000 customers, Qwest spokeswoman Joanna Hjelmeland said Friday that number was greatly exaggerated. It was more in the neighborhood of 1,000 customers, she said. Service was restored by the end of the day Thursday, she said. And the complaint gave no hint of a motive.
Glennie was conditionally released from jail, while McCombs and Walter remained in jail Friday.
Pat Pheifer email@example.com