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Rash of Copper Thefts Puts Verizon Customers at Risk

By Craig Galbraith
December 19, 2013 - News
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They're calling it a crime spree in one Virginia county.

Thieves have taken off with Verizon copper communications cable in Wise County, Va., four times in the past 18 days. The area has had nine such cases in 2013 alone.

"These thefts needlessly put people's lives in danger and cost thousands of dollars to repair," said Marlon Gunter, Verizon's area customer operations manager for southwest Virginia. "When phone lines are cut, citizens lose an important avenue for calling 911 and other emergency services. This loss of emergency communications can also result in injury or worse due to delayed response."

Verizon is working closely with police to find the culprits and have them prosecuted.

Not only are telephone customers put at risk by these crimes, the perpetrators themselves often come dangerously close to adjacent power lines when they are absconding with the precious metal.

Copper theft has risen in popularity among thieves over the past few years as the price of copper and other metals has risen. 

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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