In a scenario that has become all too familiar in recent months, customers of Innovative Telephone experienced an outage Monday due to copper wire theft from the company’s outside plant facilities on St. Croix.
According to a statement released by Innovative, more than 180 residents of Estate Concordia, Salt River Marina and Gentle Winds Condos were affected by the incident.
Innovative customers in those areas were victims of copper wire theft as recently as August, and thefts plagued the company throughout the summer before police raided a used metal dealer and made arrests Aug. 31. This was the first such incident reported by the company since the raid.
Innovative’s technical crews were on-site repairing the damage Monday.
“We will work around the clock to have service restored to our customers, and we will continue to work closely with the local authorities to prevent future theft on our outside plant cables," said Dennis Chance, vice president of engineering and operations.
The company’s news release warned that purposeful disruption of telecommunication services is a federal offense, because it might affect the ability of emergency responders and other individuals to communicate. Innovative has enlisted the aid of both the local and federal authorities in apprehending the perpetrators.
Innovative officials are encouraging anyone with information concerning the theft to contact the local authorities.
During the summer’s spate of thefts, Innovative and police officials noted that the thieves were actually going up the utility poles and removing the wires. The modus operandi suggested to police that the thieves knew their way around live power lines.