California sheriff: Criminal act, not falling tree, caused AT&T outage

In a twist on the old falling tree in the forest riddle, Tuolumne County, Calif., Sheriff Jim Mele said a criminal act, not a falling tree, actually caused a fiber cut that disrupted AT&T (NYSE: T) phone and Internet service outside the town of Sonora.

"There was no tree involved," Mele told My Mother Lode. "Why or how (AT&T) came up with that I don't know. We thought that it was very important to set the record straight that it was a criminal act not an act of Mother Nature."

AT&T spokesman Alexander Carey earlier told the publication a "fallen tree" cut the lines carrying voice and Internet service. Technicians, he added, "worked quickly and service is now restored."

Mele said deputies who investigated the damage determined that the tree was not to blame. He added there were no suspects.

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