Verizon takes on copper theft in Pa., offering $50,000 reward

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is taking on the rampant copper theft problem in its Pennsylvania market by offering up to $50,000 for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of anyone who has stolen copper cable in Lawrence and Washington Counties.

In a release announcing the reward, Verizon said that copper "thefts have put public safety at risk for hundreds of customers and have caused unnecessary telephone service outages."

The telco said that since January, over 9,000 feet of copper cable was stolen and that it incurred $62,500 in damages from thieves cutting cables. It is working with state and local law enforcement authorities to find and prosecute those responsible.

Verizon is hardly alone in its copper theft fight. Fellow telcos AT&T (NYSE: T), FairPoint (Nasdaq: FRP), Frontier (Nasdaq: FTR) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) have also been waging wars on copper theft with help from community members and state lawmakers.

One state that has taken action against copper theft is West Virginia, the home of Frontier Communications and Lumos Networks (Nasdaq: LMOS).

Last February, State Sen. Herb Snyder (D-Jefferson) introduced a bill to thwart copper theft. Snyder called copper theft an "epidemic" that needs to be stopped. The attention may have had some effect: Frontier said that 110 copper thefts in occurred Q3 2011, which dropped to 30 thefts in Q3 2012.

In addition to West Virginia, four other states including Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, and Washington, have developed laws to help curb copper theft.

For more:
- see the release

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