Copper thefts plague DeKalb community

by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Neighbors in a DeKalb County community said copper thieves are putting them at risk.

Nearly 100 people lost Internet, cable and phone service after they said thieves cut telephone cables in their Gresham Park neighborhood on Flat Shoals Road.

Jerry Jackson told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri the same thing happened three months ago.

"No computer, tried to call my neighbors. Phones wouldn't work," Jackson said.

Crews with AT&T worked for hours to repair the cut cables and restore service.

Mack Major runs a mentoring program for at-risk young men out of his home office. He wasn't able to work all day since he relies on the Internet to check in on the juvenile court system.

"I believe a greater presence from the police department would make a difference,” Major told Viteri. "They come by and see a bucket truck in the middle of the night they'll check it out."

DeKalb Police spokesperson Mekka Parish said the department has special patrols in the area. Supervisors also asked officers to look for thieves posing as workers and verify they have actual work orders.

Jackson said the thefts are more than a nuisance. Home security systems didn't work, and for neighbors without cell phones, there's no access to 911.

"It's not so much me being inconvenienced, as my elderly neighbors and others that might seriously need some help and couldn't get it," he said.

AT&T spokesperson Lance Skelly told Viteri copper cable theft continues to be a serious problem.

In a statement, Skelly said, "While it is impossible to monitor every line and pole, we ask for help from the communities. If people see suspicious activity near a pole or overhead line … report it."

The company has a reward program offering $3,000 to any information leading to an arrest and conviction of suspects involved in thefts.



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