East County cable theft disrupts internet, cell phone service

ALPINE (CNS) – Thieves cut and stole lengths of underground cables in
the East County highlands early Tuesday, knocking out data-transmission lines
used by two sheriff's stations as well as the U.S. Department of Defense,
authorities reported.

The bandits climbed into a manhole along Alpine Boulevard in the Peutz
Valley area sometime between midnight and 1 a.m., then removed 75 feet of fiber-
optic cable and a 6-foot of length of 600-strand copper cable, sheriff's Sgt.
Joseph Passalacqua said.

The crime left a total of 10 million broadband lines out of commission,
Passalacqua said. Among the affected customers were the sheriff's Alpine and
Pine Valley substations, which lost Internet service.

Though the severed cables also serve the 32nd Street Naval Station in
downtown San Diego and the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, no disruptions at
the bases occurred, a military spokesperson said.

The theft was believed to have affected some local wireless customers,
though it was unclear how many, according to Anna Crowe, a spokeswoman for
AT&T, which owns the cut copper cable and one of the fiber-optic lines.

By shortly after 1 p.m., repair crews had reconnected one of the light-
transmitting strands, restoring full wireless service, she said. The rest of
ATT&T's fiber-optic lines were expected to be fixed by mid-afternoon. Patching
the copper cable, a more time-consuming process, could continue overnight,
Crowe said.

The other severed fiber-optic cable is leased by CenturyLink, a
Louisiana company does not provide service to the San Diego area.

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