WELCH, W.Va. — Thieves seeking copper instead cut down fiber optic cables Thursday, knocking out Internet and telephone service to thousands of customers in McDowell County and Mercer County.
“It’s ridiculous,” Communications Manager Andy Malinoski of Frontier Communications said. “We’ve had a cable theft that has knocked out service to 4,000 of our customers. It was in the Barlow Creek area (in McDowell County.) They stole 12 spans of cable from pole to pole. They were driving a maroon Toyota pickup, and we would like anybody who knows anything to call us or call local authorities.”
Service was lost approximately 3 p.m. Ironically, the thieves stole the wrong cable, Malinoski said.
“It didn’t have any copper in it. They stole the high-speed fiber optic cable that carries all the data back to the Internet,” he said.
The losses were in an area stretching from Welch to Bluefield…