Choice Communications is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of thieves who have twice now cut and removed buried power lines to its Blue Mountain transmission site, company officials said Wednesday.
The first incident was the last week of December, right after Christmas, when someone pulled up the power lines and severed electricity to its Blue Mountain site, said Choice General Manager Tony Shepherd Wednesday. Several weeks later, thieves came back and again cut and pulled out the buried cable supplying power to Choice’s base station, Shepherd said.
"They are removing it from the ground, ripping it up," he said.
The vandalism caused Choice service to go down for around eight hours in December, then for a full 24 hours after the January incident. Something in the neighborhood of a quarter mile of wire was taken.
Federal government rules prohibit destroying, damaging or interfering with the equipment of licensed carriers, so these criminal acts may be considered a federal offense, he said.
"With the reward, I want to let the culprit or culprits know we are serious about this," he said.
The $5,000 reward is nearly double the value of the stolen cable, which Shepherd said cost roughly $2,800 to replace. The cost of the damage is greater, though, because of the cost of redoing the work, he said.
Anyone with information can call the VIPD Investigation Bureau at 778-2211 or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.