Outrageous act: Copper thieves strike again

An editorial from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — The public safety of hundreds across our region was once again threatened last week by the stupidity of a would-be copper thief. This time someone trying to steal copper actually cut down and burned a fiber optic cable line. This foolish and criminal act left hundreds across McDowell County without landline telephone service for a period of several hours — including the McDowell County 911 Communications Center.

Hundreds of families in several communities were impacted by this criminal act. According to Sgt. C.F. Kane, commander of the West Virginia State Police Welch Detachment, the fiber optic line that was cut and burned was actually located in Mercer County. But the disruption in telephone service impacted McDowell County. Investigators say those responsible for this outrageous act were looking for copper inside of the fiber optic line.

Hundreds were subsequently left for several hours without their landline telephone service. And many of those families who were impacted by the outage live in communities without cell phone service, including the 875 exchange for War, Berwind, and surrounding communities. Residents in the Iaeger, Bradshaw and Raysal communities also were affected by the outage.

Had an actual medical emergency or other problem occurred, these families would have had no way of contacting police, a rescue squad or the local fire department. Adding to this very dangerous scenario was the fact that service also was temporarily impacted at the McDowell County 911 Center…

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