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AT&T Raises Reward to $250,000 To Catch Cable Saboteur

   
9:22 am on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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ATandT Raises Reward to $250,000 To Catch Cable Saboteur [mercurynews.com]
A day after a saboteur hacked through underground fiber-optic cables, leaving tens of thousands of area residents with no phone, cell phone or Internet service, AT&T fattened its reward Friday to $250,000 as local police and the FBI continued to hunt for the culprit.

But businesses that suffered financially because of the outages cannot claim any refunds, and Verizon customers shouldn't expect any money for the inconvenience.

San Jose police reported receiving about 10 tips, and San Carlos police confirmed they are examining video surveillance of a major intersection near one of the four locations where AT&T's underground fiber-optic cables were sliced early Thursday morning.

11:28 am on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Sabotage or just a dumb thief looking for copper?
11:57 am on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Have they found a way to make fiber optic cable from copper?
12:04 pm on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Have they found a way to make fiber optic cable from copper?

I think that's the reason for the word "dumb" being in the sentence ;)

I've heard that this remains a big problem in South Africa where copper theft remains rife - thieves digging up fiber in the hunt for it.

If it's just a slice through, sounds to me more like sabotage though.

2:40 pm on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Article said it was malicious:

"In this case there was a deliberate act of destruction," Britton said. "This malicious criminal act was targeted at our fiber network, which impacts thousands and thousands of customers in multiple communities."
4:04 pm on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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According to the local news, fiber was cut at two places such that it wasn't possible for telecom guys (or gals) to pull the slack from the line and splice cables right away - to me this would indicate malicious action (as "they" would known what they are doing in order to make repair harder)....
[tin hat on] I just hope this wasn't a test run for something bigger [tin hat off]
8:14 pm on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I hadn't bothered to read the original article so didn't have the details. There have been cases in the UK of fiber optic cable being cut by thieves who had assumed that it would be copper.
8:17 pm on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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High world prices for copper (and other metals) that were driving this criminal activity dropped big time so it is unlikely to be motivation here, though everything is possible.
3:52 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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High world prices for copper ... that were driving this criminal activity dropped big time so it is unlikely to be motivation here, though everything is possible

But if the thieves were stupid enough to be digging up fiber for copper, there's not much hope they were up to speed on world copper prices either...

We actually had the copper tubing from the building's air conditioner stolen in our former sale's office.

4:46 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Not just twisted copper wire in South Africa - anything that has a shine gets swiped and sold on for scrap metal cash!
5:20 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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But if the thieves were stupid enough to be digging up fiber for copper, there's not much hope they were up to speed on world copper prices either...

Thieves might be stupid what cable to dig out, but they ain't stupid about current scrap prices - those have not fallen yesterday but for many months now. I think scrap prices have fallen 3-4 times to a point when it no longer makes sense doing such things.

5:49 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I still enjoy the story of the metal thieves who cut through an underground 30 000 Volt cable - and were fried.
6:10 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I still enjoy the story of the metal thieves who cut through an underground 30 000 Volt cable - and were fried.

We had a problem like that some years ago here in South Florida. There was a spate of idiot thieves who would try stealing the copper wire from operational street lights along our expressways. Many of them got electrocuted. Eventually Florida DOT made the lights a lot more difficult to break into and the deaths came to a halt.
10:01 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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here in Central America metal thieving is strong. Everything from telephone wire to gutter guards are stolen for scrap metal.
6:27 am on Apr 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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In Australia, thieves steal copper from the suburban (electrified) railways in broad daylight. This brings the entire line to a halt for hours. In one case they found container loads of cut cables just about to be put on a ship bound for China.
9:15 am on Apr 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Same problem in the UK.

An arts centre where I work as a volunteer used to have a pay phone but thieves would break in and rip out the coin box, so they replaced it with a credit card only version. Somebody still broke it open looking for coins.