NEW CASTLE, Pa. – Verizon is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the individuals responsible for the thefts of copper telephone cables in Beaver, Fayette, Lawrence and Washington counties. The thefts have put public safety at risk for hundreds of customers and have caused unnecessary telephone service outages.
The most recent theft occurred on Jan. 30 in Wampum, where approximately 200 feet of copper cable was stolen near the intersection of Old Route 18 and Route 18, affecting service for more than 90 Verizon customers.
Since the beginning of 2014, nearly 30 incidents have occurred, with more than 16,000 feet of copper cable stolen and more than $300,000 in damages. The thefts have occurred most frequently in the Brownsville, Burgettstown, New Castle and Wampum areas. As a result of these crimes, hundreds of Verizon local phone customers have unnecessarily experienced telephone service delays – up to several days in some cases – and endured risks to their personal safety.
“These acts are deliberate and brazen with no regard for the safety of our customers, and that is something Verizon will not tolerate,” said Margaret Buban, director of operations for Verizon Pennsylvania. “They can cause unnecessary telephone service outages for hundreds of customers at a time, put people’s lives in danger and cost thousands of dollars to repair.”
Verizon is working closely with state and local law enforcement authorities to find and prosecute those responsible. A recently enacted law in Pennsylvania, Act 192, has increased the penalties for the theft of secondary metals like copper, making the theft a third-degree felony when the value of the stolen metal is $1,000 or more or when the theft is the third or subsequent offense, regardless of the value of the metal.
The company urges anyone with information about these crimes or who observes any suspicious activity to contact Verizon Security at 1-800-997-3287, or local law enforcement authorities.