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Frontier hit hard as copper thieves get bold, desperate in Washington

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The approach of a tougher copper theft law in Washington state has apparently encouraged thieves to dig deeper--literally--to steal the semi-precious metal. The law, which takes effect next week, will supposedly make it easier to track thieves trying to sell the copper. So, for now, there's some urgency to get and sell the material.

In Washington, some thieves are so desperate they've even started cutting and stripping cheaper cable TV lines that hand between poles. Still, the most money is to be made from digging or cutting exposed thick-gauge phone wire.

According to Seattle's KOMO News, Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) has been hard hit--and that's become a problem for its subscribers. A Frontier rep, John Daly, told the station that thieves targeted a rural road near Snohomish, Wash., probably because it was remote.

"It comes down and they can pull it back into the woods and wherever and roll it up," he said.

Frontier's lines have been snipped in Snohomish, Skykomish and Granite Falls, causing temporary outages for voice and data customers and even affecting 911 services.

"The cable becomes their (consumers') lifeline for all sorts of things, in particular 911," Ken Baldwin, another Frontier representative told the station. "How do you respond to those emergencies."

Frontier has also reported problems with copper thieves in its Ohio and West Virginia territories.

For more:
- KOMO ran this story

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