Everett, Washington - Two radio station towers were toppled early Friday, and the station's manager said an ecoterrorist group's initials were left at the scene.
A sign bearing the letters ELF was found near the towers, said Andy Skotdal, general manager of KRKO Radio in Everett, about 25 miles north of Seattle. The Earth Liberation Front is a loose collection of radical environmentalists that has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks since the 1990s.
However, Snohomish County sheriff's office spokeswoman Rebecca Hover wouldn't confirm that a sign was found.
A neighbor told a 911 operator that someone seemed to attacking the towers with a bulldozer at about 3:30 a.m., Hover told The Herald of Everett. A 349-foot tower and a smaller tower were found on the ground with heavy construction equipment nearby, but deputies and a tracking dog didn't find any suspects, Hover said.
Deputies found other, unspecified evidence at the scene, Hover said.
The family-owned station remained on the air Friday morning after shifting to other transmission equipment.
KRKO's plans to increase its transmission capacity have been embroiled for more than a decade in appeals and litigation over issues ranging from trumpeter swan habitat to potential health hazards to humans.
The addition to the station's existing towers in the town of Snohomish, east of Everett, were completed in February, allowing KRKO to boost its AM signal to where it could compete with larger broadcasters in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Neighbors have since complained of interference from radio signals on home telephone and intercom lines.
The Skotdal family also plans to build two 199-foot towers at the same site for a new 5,000-watt AM station that would cover Snohomish County on another frequency.
A hearing examiner denied a permit for the towers, based on claims that radio signals could be dangerous to humans. But the council voted to reverse the finding, saying it was based on shaky scientific evidence.
A King County judge upheld the council's decision on Aug. 14.
Skotdal has said he hopes to get the new signal on the air by the end of the year.