The man who climbed the Papillion water tower last Friday afternoon is facing felony criminal mischief and trespassing charges. 37 year old Hector Ocasio-Malave is accused of making his way around barriers and then climbing to the top of the tower and remaining there for nearly four hours. Police negotiators were brought in. Witnesses say he was mumbling in both English and Spanish and making requests to see his son and for an American Flag. He was also seen cutting communication wires on the tower. Police Lt. Chris Whitted says they still don’t know how much damage was done.
“I still think the damage will be in the thousands of dollars but it will be a few more days before we have those estimates.”
Lt. Whitted says the area around the tower is secure.
“There is an 8 or 10-foot high chain link fence with barbed wire at the top. We have an 11, 12 foot out building that leads to the first part of the ladder going up.”
Trouble may just be starting for Ocasio-Malave. Lt. Whitted says there is a lot of damage done and they would like to see the suspect foot the bill for repairs.
“Ultimately, that will be up to the county attorney’s office but we’ll certainly forward the estimates and the names of the victims as we identify them so hopefully he will be held accountable.”
The damage to communication lines impacted Papillion – La Vista Schools and cell phone service to many.
Authorities in Papillion do not believe extra security measures are needed at the tower site.