An area cable provider is experiencing a rash of crimes that is damaging its infrastructure.
Telecommunications company CenturyLink has seen three thefts in recent weeks targeting copper and fiber optic cables the company uses to transmit signals. Company officials are warning of greater consequences than a simple interruption to television or Internet service.
“Stealing cable puts entire communities at risk,” area operations manager Bill Martin said in a news release. “Imagine having a loved one suddenly in need of emergency medical assistance, only to find 911 services don’t work because someone cut the cable to steal the copper.”
Copper theft has been on the rise in recent years. Thieves typically stole pipes from vacant or abandoned homes.
Copper prices have more than doubled in the past four years. Lt. Donnie Adams with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office said those market conditions have led criminals to seek out new sources for copper.
Thieves and burglars will steal air conditioning units, refrigerators, power lines and telephone lines “They’re taking it from anywhere they can get it,” Adams said.
They then extract the copper and sell to scrap metal dealers.
CenturyLink in recent weeks has seen metal thefts from homes on Firefly and Maxdale roads in Killeen and on Farm-to-Market 116 in Copperas Cove, the release stated.
Adams said residents should make sure they keep their homes locked whenever they are away. He also said construction sites should be secured.
CenturyLink recommended reporting any suspicious activity. Most thefts occur overnight, so crews working at peculiar hours may actually be thieves. Company workers and contractors always wear uniforms.