The Dallas Police Department and AT&T are working to prevent copper thieves from tearing down cables and disrupting phone, cable, and internet service.
“[The copper thieves] cut down the telephone wires to steal the copper wire that’s inside of it,” said Detective Jamison Lewis. “They’ll burn the plastic coating or the paper coating off of [the telephone wire], then take it to a scrap metal yard and sell it [for the] copper wire inside of it.”
In Oak Cliff, AT&T workers have been repairing cable wires cut by individuals who allegedly stole the copper. In many instances, alleged criminals are cutting off lifelines to residents of neighborhoods.
“It takes out the whole neighborhood’s cable, internet, and phone [service],” said Lewis. “So anybody that has a landline, they’ve now lost their ability to call 911. Anybody who works on the internet, using internet for their cell service or working from home, they no longer have the ability to do that.”
A single cut wire can disable internet, cable, and landline service for an entire area for several days. A cut line from one telephone pole to another costs AT&T between $10,000 and $15,000 to repair.
“Given that there’s a rise in copper prices, that’s causing more crime involving theft,” said Curtis McGruder with AT&T, an investigator with the company’s asset protection division.
Currently, Detective Lewis is investigating 11 “copper theft” cases.
Both McGruder and Detective Lewis are requesting the help of the public.
“We really need the public to help us with this because it’s happening in front of their eyes. They just don’t know it,” said McGruder.
Even if you see an individual wearing a hard hat and work vest, if you observe anyone working on your telephone lines, make sure they are in a recognized vehicle rather than a personal car or truck.
Please call Detective Lewis at 214-671-0635 if you have any information or doorbell footage regarding a possible copper wire theft.