Copper Theft: Latest AT&T Incident Casts Dark Shadow

A small town in Northern California, AT&T, and its customers are the latest victims of what’s become a rampant crime around the country: copper theft.

The Napa County Sheriff’s Office said someone stole 600 feet in copper phone cable over the weekend in St. Helena, Calif. Damage is estimated at between $15,000 and $25,000, but the potential harm to people is much worse in crimes like these.

Phone cables are often positioned close to power lines, making it a dangerous proposition for the perpetrator. And when phone lines go down as a result, it often leaves people in the lurch if they desperately need emergency services.

The outages affected both residential customers and wineries in the area, an AT&T spokesperson told the Napa Valley Register. Crews restored service on Monday.

Police think the perp might have been impersonating a utility worker because a witness saw someone in the area wearing a reflective vest.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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