Fear of Public Utilities Leads to Arrest

The Times-News reports a Surgoinsville man known by police for his fear of public utilities allegedly cut cable TV lines and electrical ground wires on four consecutive days last week, reportedly fearing that radiation was harming his family.

On the fourth day deputies were called to investigate, and due to the location of the cut lines and their proximity to the suspect, deputies had a good idea who to speak to first.

As a result of the investigation, Anthony Edward “Tony” Manis, 39, 294 Carters Valley Loop, Surgoinsville, has been charged with five counts of vandalism to lines belonging to Small Town Cable and ground cables belonging to Holston Electric.

This wasn’t the first time Manis has been accused of damaging public utilities.

Hawkins County Sheriff Roger Christian said Manis has had previous legal entanglements for damaging a water meter because he allegedly believed he was being poisoned by the water utility.

He was also accused of tinkering with electrical lines and transformers because he feared that his home was not properly grounded. Christian said Manis is well-known to his office for those reasons.

“I don’t know if this is a certified phobia, but he certainly has an issue with public utilities,” Christian said.

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