Potentially hundreds affected by copper theft at Hawaiian Telcom - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Potentially hundreds affected by copper theft at Hawaiian Telcom Cable site

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MOANALUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Thieves stole about 50 feet of Hawaiian Telcom's copper cable in an underground manhole in the Moanalua Gardens area Monday night. Thieves broke through a manhole that was welded shut to prevent copper theft, and sawed through two cables, a 1,200 pair and 600 pair cable, potentially causing telephone and internet service disruption to more than 600 Hawaiian Telcom customers.

This is the fourth time thieves have stolen copper cable from this location, despite measures to prevent theft, including welding the manholes.

"It's extremely frustrating," said Su Shin, executive director of corporate communications for Hawaiian Telcom. "Our crews have to come out here, spend many, many hours to troubleshoot or find where the thieves have come in, and do the repair work. And our customers are out of service. It's a financial impact. It's a tremendous, tremendous problem."

Hawaiian Telcom crews are now working to replace the stolen cables by splicing a 1,200 pair section and a 600 pair section in the manhole. This work is scheduled to be completed by the end of this week.

So far, there have been reports of outages from nearly 60 customers, according to Hawaiian Telcom.

Hawaiian Telcom has reported this theft to the Honolulu Police Department (HPD). The thieves have not been apprehended and the case remains under investigation by HPD. Copper theft of one pound or more was established as a Class C Felony in the State of Hawaiʻi in 2007 to deter the growing incidents of copper theft (HRS 708-835.7).

The public is encouraged to call 911 to report suspicious activity to police or to Hawaiian Telcom security at 643-7111.

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