Copper thieves cause outage

Local customers who lost cable, Internet and telephone services Wednesday can blame copper thieves, Suddenlink Communications officials said.

The cable service disruption “was very likely the result of copper thieves,” who cut two lines in the Rich Mountain area of Beverly, according to a Suddenlink press release sent Wednesday afternoon.

“Our technicians arrived at the site to find two cuts to a 102-count fiber line, which is a major artery of our cable system,” Michael Keleman, Suddenlink’s director of government relations, said in the release. “We suspect that it was the work of copper thieves.

“However, cable fiber lines contain no copper,” Kelemen added.

The outage-which began at 6:02 a.m. Wednesday morning and affected approximately 5,000 people in the Randolph County area-was expected to be fixed by 7 p.m. Wednesday, Kelemen told The Inter-Mountain. He said company officials used a laser to locate the two cuts.

Senior Trooper S.E. Hevener with the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police, the entity investigating the incident, said they have no suspects or persons of interest “at this point.”

Suddenlink employees stationed at the location told Hevener they believed the copper thieves first slit a fiberoptic cable line and after discovering no copper inside, sliced open a telephone line, which does contain copper, he said.

“We’re looking at scrap yards to see if anyone turns in anything suspicious,” Hevener remarked.

“Anyone who has seen any suspicious vehicles in the area is asked to call the state police.”

The Elkins detachment may be reached by dialing 304-637-0200.

Kelemen also requested customers’ assistance in pinpointing the perpetrators.

“We certainly thank customers for their patience during this service interruption, and we hope that anyone with any information that can help lead to the conviction of these copper thieves will contact the state police.”