The price of precious metals is still high – good for people who want to trade in old jewelry, but not so great for phone companies like AT&T.
America's carriers continue to be hammered by copper theft, a crime that's dangerous to those stealing it and both a financial and logistical pain in the backside for the companies, not to mention the risk to the public in the event of an emergency if no landline service is available.
The latest rash of thefts is in central California, where AT&T is teaming up with the Fresno County Sheriff to catch the bad guys. Three-hundred feet of lines were taken in the most recent crime, which the company told KSEE-TV is "frustrating for us – it’s time and money – but customers are frustrated too because they are without services."
One street in Fresno has been targeted a half-dozen times; in some cases, the telephone poles have fallen in the process. The perps are taking their lives into their own hands to make an extra buck — often the lines are in very close proximity to live power lines.
This year alone in the region, copper theft has cost AT&T thousands of dollars and the Fresno Sheriff's Office almost a half-million. There have been 30 similar incidents reported in the area in just the past two months, affecting thousands of customers, the report said.
AT&T is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who offers a tip that leads to a conviction.