Charles City County residents left in dark after thieves cut internet lines for copper wire

There have been three instances in the past month
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 10:44 PM EST
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CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Charles City county is pretty rural, but LeeAnn Evans says when she had trouble making a phone call back in mid-October, she knew something was wrong

“The first thing I do every morning is text my boyfriend good morning, but my phone wouldn’t work,” Evans said. A lot of people work from home, but they can’t even work from home because they don’t have internet.”

Evans says the light on her internet router was also off. She says she called Verizon, which provides her and many others with internet and cell phone service. After that call, Evans said Verizon left her a message detailing an odd discovery.

“I called Verizon, and they told me they would send a technician out to my home,” Evans said. “Well, a couple of days went by, and they told me that somebody was cutting the copper wire there and stealing it in selling it.”

“There is sabotage or what we would call vandalism in the area where someone has stolen multiple copper cables. It’s the technology used for your landline and internet services to work,” a Verizon spokesperson said in a voice message.

Evans says whenever Verizon fixes the issue, the thieves come back to cut the cables again to strip the copper out.

She says it was last fixed Tuesday, Nov. 15, but she says it happened on at least three occasions over the past month.

Now she worries about what could happen if the line gets severed again.

“Without Wi-Fi calling, you cannot use the cell phone to call out. Without being able to call out, you cannot get help, and less you leave home, and if it’s a true emergency, you wouldn’t be able to leave home to go get the help that you need,” Evans said.

Since the most recent incident, Verizon hired contractors to install a new wooden post to fasten the internet line several feet off the ground beyond a person’s reach to keep the line from being cut again.

Even with the repairs, Evans fears whoever is responsible may attempt to strike again, and if they do, she worries about giving her elderly father the care he needs if the phones aren’t operable.

“He’s 89 years old, and he does have a lot of health conditions, but I may possibly need to call 911, it without being able to use the cell phone her house phone, I can’t call 911,” Evans said.

NBC12 reached out to the Charles City County sheriff’s office, and they said they are aware of the issue.

“Several incidents have been brought to our attention and are under investigation. While we are unable to speak to the specifics of this active investigation, we would like to reassure the community that we are aggressively working with service providers in the area on preventive measures,” a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said.

In the meantime, LeeAnn hopes her message makes it loud and clear to whoever is doing this.

“I hope that they prosecuted to the fullest because they shouldn’t be stealing, and they’re putting people’s lives in jeopardy,” Evans said.

The Sheriff’s Office said it encourages all citizens to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious activity if seen. Additionally, if they’re asking anyone with knowledge of crimes being committed related to the copper thefts, contact the Sheriff’s office at 804-829-9265 or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.