Singing Tower break-in early Saturday morning ends with intruder calling 911 on himself

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By Randy Arrington

LURAY, July 15 — As Friday turned into Saturday this past weekend, officers with the Luray Police Department received information about, and later apprehended, a man who broke into the “Singing Tower” and later called law enforcement to come get him out.

Anthony Kent Smith, 33, of Luray, was taken into police custody shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Saturday and charged with three felonies — breaking and entering, felonious destruction of property, and possession of burglary tools, according to Luray Police Chief C.S. “Bow” Cook.

At 11:59 p.m. on Friday, 911 dispatchers reported to police that they had received information that “a white male is walking to the Singing Tower to break into it.” Two officers checked the scene and found nothing.

“The caller stated that he had large bolt cutters on his person,” Chief Cook told PVN. “The officers searched and were unable to locate him.”

Smith would later use bolt cutters and a sledgehammer to enter the stone tower that holds 47 cast bronze carillon bells weighing some 36,170 pounds that came from the Taylor Bellfoundry of Loughborough, England.

Col. T.C. Northcott officially dedicated the bell tower on Nov. 13, 1937 in honor of his wife, Belle Brown Northcott. It was presented to the Town of Luray with an endowment through the Luray Parks Association to provide for its maintenance and for recitals in perpetuity by the late Col. Northcott and his daughter, Katherine Northcott Graves. The largest carillon bell in the Belle Brown Northcott Memorial weighs 7,640 pounds and is six feet in diameter. The smallest is 12-1/2 pounds.

At 1:28 a.m. Saturday morning, the local 911 dispatch received a second call regarding the “Singing Tower.”

“The caller wanted to report a crime that he had committed…that he had broke into the Singing Tower…and was close to the bottom,” Chief Cook said. “When dispatch asked him if he could come out[side]…he said he could come out, but it would be more fun for law enforcement to come in and get him.”

So, that’s exactly what happened. Chief Cook confirmed that neither drugs nor alcohol seemed to be a factor in the incident. Smith has been previously charged with breaking and entering of a public building in Northern Virginia.

Nothing was reported missing, and there was no major damage. No motive is known.

As of Monday morning, Smith was being held without bond in the Page County Jail.

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