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Hawaiian Telcom gets hit with seventh instance of copper theft

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Hawaiian Telcom is the latest traditional telco to see copper cable theft incidents rising in its service area, reporting that thieves recently stole about 300 feet of cable in Kalaeloa, near the now closed Barbers Point Naval Air Station (NAS).

The telco said that thieves sawed through two aerial cables, including a 400 pair and a 200 pair, on Franklin D. Roosevelt Avenue between Tulagi Avenue and Forrestal Avenue, potentially causing telephone and internet service disruption to more than 200 customers.  

Since 2011, Hawaiian Telcom said it has reported seven incidents of copper theft in this general area, which has been "relatively unoccupied" since the NAS closed in 1999.

Hawaiian Telcom said that it has deployed crews to replace the stolen cables and splice both the 400 pair and 200 pair sections. It expects the work to be completed this weekend.

This incident was reported to the Honolulu Police Department (HPD), but the thieves have not been apprehended and the case remains under investigation.

Similar to other states like West Virginia, Hawaii established a law that copper theft of one pound or more is a Class C felony. Other states, including Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky and Washington, have developed similar laws to help curb copper theft.

Frontier Communications reported that due to the passing of the West Virginia copper theft law, incidents dropped between 2011 and 2012.

Hawaiian Telcom and Frontier are not alone in fighting the copper theft problem. In recent years, a number of other mainland telcos, including AT&T (NYSE: T), FairPoint and Verizon (NYSE: VZ), have seen incidents of copper theft continue to rise.

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