A radio station in Alabama (USA) was forced to cease operations after intruders stole its 60-meter radio tower, reports The Guardian.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ordered WJLX in Jasper, Alabama, to stop broadcasting after unknown thieves stole the station’s AM tower.

“In all my years of being in the business, around the business, everything like that, I have never seen anything like this,” WJLX’s general manager, Brett Elmore, told the Guardian. “You don’t hear of a 200ft tower being stolen,” he added.

The theft was discovered last week by a landscaping crew that regularly maintains the area near the tower, WBRC reports.

“They called me and said the tower was gone. And I said, ‘What do you mean, the tower is gone?’” Elmore said.

The 60-meter radio tower was located in a wooded area behind a poultry farm. WJLX’s general manager says the thieves cut the wires and somehow removed the tower itself. They also stole the station’s AM transmitters from a neighboring building. Brett Elmore reported the theft, but local police were equally surprised by the brazen robbery.

For a small radio station, such a theft is a real disaster. Brett Elmore says that the station’s property was not insured, and replacing the tower could cost between $100,000 and $150,000, which is money the station does not have.

The FCC has informed WJLX that the station will have to stop broadcasting. Although WJLX still has an FM transmitter and FM tower, the station is not allowed to operate the FM transmitter while the AM repeater is down.

As the news of the tower’s theft had already gone viral, many people contacted the radio station and the local police with their theories about the tower’s disappearance.

“I had a guy from Virginia call yesterday and say, ‘You know, I think a helicopter grabbed [the tower],’” Elmore said.

Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments about the method by which the 60-meter radio tower was stolen.