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Officials cite risk to public from recent copper thefts

WELCH — Thieves who damage telecommunications lines in their quest for copper continue to be a threat to southern West Virginia’s communities, troopers with the West Virginia State Police said Monday.

On Nov. 5, thieves seeking copper cut down fiber optic cables in the Barlow area of McDowell County. Approximately 4,000 customers between Welch and Bluefield lost service as a result. The West Virginia State Police Welch Detachment is investigating.

 The stolen cables were high-speed fiber optic cables that contained no copper, Andy Malinoski of Frontier Communications said then.

McDowell County has experienced two recent cable thefts. The first happened Oct. 26 in the Panther area, and the other one occurred Nov. 5.

Since the McDowell County incidents, the West Virginia State Police and Frontier have responded to multiple copper thefts. The most recent thefts were reported Nov. 21 in Lincoln County near the Logan County line.

No matter where it happens, stealing copper creates dangers by leaving people with no telephone or Internet service when they face an emergency….

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