Men face federal charges for allegedly stealing copper from airport runway light towers

The structure in the background (beyond the signs) is a runway light structure for Sea-Tac Airport.

SEATTLE -- Two men accused of stealing copper cables are facing federal charges because the metal was cut from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport runway light towers, which could have posed a threat to airline safety, authorities said Tuesday.

Jeramie Harms, 28, and Timothy Lynch, 50, were being held in the King County Jail.

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said the theft was discovered Feb. 12 when a Port of Seattle employee noticed damage to a 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,” Durkan said in a news release.

According to the criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday, Harms and Lynch entered a secured area of Sea-Tac Airport and removed copper cable from the light towers.  Harms was being questioned by police regarding an unrelated local burglary when information was developed linking him and Lynch to the wire theft.

The men are charged with theft of public property, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.