SURGOINSVILLE — 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. “At one time he actually took a ladder and climbed up the side of a (electric utility) pole. He took automobile jumper cables and attached to the neutral line, and attached the other end to the neutral lug on the transformer at his residence.
“We’re talking about just shy of 7,200 volts. He claimed his house was not getting enough ground. But with 7,200 — one little slip is all it would have taken (for a fatal accident).”
Manis lives across the street from where the cable TV lines were cut last week. When a deputy spoke to Manis about the matter at his residence on Wednesday, Manis allegedly took a pair of wire snips from his coat pocket and tossed them on the floor in an attempt to conceal them.
Manis was transported to the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office for questioning, at which time he allegedly told Detective Randy Collier “he was being radiated by the TV and that the ground wires were causing his family harm.”
Collier stated in his report that Manis had allegedly cut the ground lines for his electric meter, as well as his neighbor’s electric meter.
Manis was arraigned in Hawkins County Sessions Court on Monday.