Copper thieves cause another service interruption on St. Croix
Published: August 15, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Public utilities have once again fallen victim to copper thieves, trying to sell the metal at the expense of interrupting service and risking lives.
Innovative Telephone Spokeswoman Willa Fils said Wednesday that the company has experienced another outage because of copper wire theft at the company's telecommunication facilities.
Within the last four weeks, there have been six incidents of copper wire theft affecting Innovative service.
She said Tuesday night two spans of 400-pair cable were stolen leaving more than 130 Innovative Telephone subscribers in Morning Star, Salt River Marina and Gentle Winds Condos without telecommunication services.
Innovative's outside plant technical team was on-site most of the day Wednesday, and service was expected to be fully restored by late Wednesday.
The telephone company has not been the only victim of such theft as V.I. Waste Management Authority spokeswoman Stella Saunders announced Monday that there has been a rash of stolen manhole covers across the island.
She said unknown individuals are removing manhole covers, especially in low traffic or isolated areas, and selling them to local scrap metal companies.
The removal of the covers can cause a serious safety issue as unsuspecting persons, animals or vehicles could fall into these opened manholes, Saunders said.
In addition to putting out a warning to individuals to stop removing the manhole covers, the Waste Management Authority is also issuing a warning to companies that purchase scrap metals that it is illegal to purchase any utility's property without the proper documentation.
"Any company found to be in violation of their permit requirements will face legal implications," Saunders said.
The thefts have caused interruption in service for hundreds of customers and cost thousands of dollars in manpower and equipment replacement for the companies.
Violations can be reported at 911 or by calling the anonymous tip line at Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.