Copper Thieves Cut Lines Resulting in Phone, Internet Outage in Oak Cliff

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The signs of damage were clear as AT&T line crews worked throughout the day Wednesday to restore phone service and internet to a southern Dallas community after copper thieves wreaked havoc on utility lines.

“My understanding is that they’re using, for example, those bucket trucks that they can perhaps go rent. Some are using ladders. So, they’re very creative,” said Dallas City Councilwoman Carolyn King Arnold.

About 300 households woke up to a text telling them restoration could take up to 13 hours.

“It’s inconvenient because your Internet is out. Your TV is out. We’re all connected, but now we’re on the disconnect,” said Isaac Steen.

Steen said a computer class he planned to attend at a nearby library was canceled, but he was most concerned for his neighbor who relies on a landline that was also cut.

“I had to call around to some of her kin folk to make sure she was all right because she’s an elderly lady and I hadn’t seen her until late today because no one has phone or internet service.”


They are inconveniences Arnold fears could have been much worse.

“My understanding is it’s a trend, and it's becoming more common than many of us know,” she said.

Last October, Lake Worth Police shared a photo of sliced wires after they say a man broke into an AT&T facility looking for copper and caused damage that resulted in a temporary loss of 911 service in the area.

Similarly, Dallas Police confirmed they have investigated recent copper thefts.

While Arnold engages city leaders, she encourages neighbors to keep their eyes peeled.

“We cannot afford to let incidents like this go without being addressed,” she said.

Tuesday night, AT&T confirmed fiber was cut in the area and appeared to be an act of vandalism or attempted theft.

The company asked people in the area to be aware of any unmarked vehicles or people tampering with cables.

People can anonymously report suspicious activity to local police or AT&T Asset Protection at 800-807-4205.

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