AT&T is offering a reward of up to $1,000 to solve incidents of copper theft from telephone cables. The reward is for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
The reported incidents happened in Meridian and Lauderdale County.
AT&T says the steady rise in the market price of copper in the last few years and the down economy has led some thieves to extreme measures, including stealing copper cables from facilities and telephone poles.
AT&T said it's working with law enforcement agencies and scrap metal dealers in the county to
solve the cases.
AT&T urges anyone with information on the recent thefts of its copper cables to call Crimestoppers at 601-485-1860 to begin the investigation process and possibly claim the reward.
Damage to telecommunications equipment is a felony, punishable by jail time and fines.
Regional Manager C.D. Smith says most copper thieves clip overhead telephone cables in the overnight hours. If a citizen sees any of the following, call 911 -- it’s a possible cable theft:
• Anyone climbing or loitering around a telephone pole without an AT&T uniform. AT&T technicians do not work alone, and never in the pitch darkness. AT&T repair crews have lights and equipment when repairing lines after dark.
• All AT&T trucks, including bucket trucks, are clearly branded. Any other pickup trucks or or vans are NOT carrying AT&T crews.
• Small fires burning in rural areas, with an acrid, “rubber” smell and giving off black smoke. This may indicate thieves are burning the sheathing from the cable.
The reward offer expires December 31, 2012.