Shamokin Mayor Arrested in Connection with Cell Phone Tower Construction

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SHAMOKIN -- The mayor of Shamokin has been arrested.

Shamokin Mayor Bill Milbrand was charged with 42 counts, 14 of which are felonies. It's all in connection with the alleged disturbance and vandalism of burial sites in the city.

Investigators say the mayor allowed construction crews to cover more than a dozen graves with dirt in the Shamokin Cemetery in order to place a new cell tower there.

Some people in Shamokin were shocked to hear the news their mayor had been arrested. Others had already heard.

The mayor, who is also the president of the Shamokin Cemetery Association, said last year that having a cell tower on the cemetery's property would generate $900 a month, and that money would go to improving the cemetery.

At the time, promises were made that no graves would be disturbed. But back in October, Newswatch 16 found residents were concerned that construction work was damaging headstones, and many wondered if crews were building over actual graves.

Now, Shamokin police say they believe the cell tower was being constructed over at least 14 burial sites.

Still, some in the city had sympathy for the mayor.

"I think it's sad when they, because of your position, things are made bigger of when you're arrested, you know? No matter what it's for. I think it's said that he said they weren't going to mess with the graves and they did," said Kathy Stadnicki of Shamokin.

Milbrand was arraigned and released on $20,000 unsecured bail.

Newswatch 16 was not able to get in touch with the mayor for comment.

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