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Friday, August 19, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesCopper Bandits Strike Again, Disrupting Service

Copper Bandits Strike Again, Disrupting Service

For the second night in a row Tuesday, bandits went up utility poles and stole copper wire used to provide telephone service to approximately 130 customers in the Salt River and Gentle Winds Condos area, according to a statement from Innovative Telephone.

The company said it had dispatched its outside plant technical team to the area and said it would "continue to work diligently until service is restored," anticipating work would be completed by the end of business on Wednesday.

During July and August, the company was plagued repeatedly by thefts of the copper wire, mostly in the same area. Because Innovative is replacing its copper wire with a hybrid fiber optic system, there are few places left on the island that have the older wire, which is stolen by thieves interested in its scrap metal value.

After a raid on St. Croix scrap metal yards and the arrest of one person, the thefts had stopped, but this week they resumed.

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Innovative said it is working with the V.I. Police Department and federal law enforcement to try to catch the thieves. It pointed out that deliberate disruption of telecommunication services is a federal offense because it may affect the ability of emergency responders and other individuals to communicate.

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For the second night in a row Tuesday, bandits went up utility poles and stole copper wire used to provide telephone service to approximately 130 customers in the Salt River and Gentle Winds Condos area, according to a statement from Innovative Telephone.

The company said it had dispatched its outside plant technical team to the area and said it would "continue to work diligently until service is restored," anticipating work would be completed by the end of business on Wednesday.

During July and August, the company was plagued repeatedly by thefts of the copper wire, mostly in the same area. Because Innovative is replacing its copper wire with a hybrid fiber optic system, there are few places left on the island that have the older wire, which is stolen by thieves interested in its scrap metal value.

After a raid on St. Croix scrap metal yards and the arrest of one person, the thefts had stopped, but this week they resumed.

Innovative said it is working with the V.I. Police Department and federal law enforcement to try to catch the thieves. It pointed out that deliberate disruption of telecommunication services is a federal offense because it may affect the ability of emergency responders and other individuals to communicate.