Telephone cable was stolen from this corner in North Delta on Jan. 7.

Telephone cable was stolen from this corner in North Delta on Jan. 7.

Wire theft shuts down phones

Telus loses about $50,000 each time wires are stolen for their copper.

About 600 feet of telephone cable was cut down from poles in North Delta last week, leaving residents without phone service for several hours.

At about 3 p.m. on Jan. 7, thieves sliced copper telephone wire, cutting off phone service in the area of Nelson View and River Road.

The copper cable was found cut and stacked and police believe the culprits were planning to come back for it.

In the process, about 90 Telus telephone customers were without service for about 15 hours.

While it’s expensive for Telus to repair and replace the cable, the company says it’s not its biggest concern.

“What’s more concerning for us is until we can restore service, our customers are without 911,” said Telus spokesman Shawn Hall.

Telus experienced about 200 cable thefts last year and the rate is holding steady, Hall said.

The number of thefts tends to follow the price of the commodity and what scrap dealers will give thieves for it.

“Copper prices are up, the thefts are up,” Hall said.

Telus is currently lobbying cities to create bylaws, much like the one in Surrey, requiring scrap dealers to keep information about who they received the merchandise from and have it available to police.

“A good set of bylaws across the Lower Mainland could give police the tools they need to put the bad apples out of business,” Hall said.

The company is also working with the province for tougher legislation.

Surrey Now Leader