Wire thieves caused cable outage, Comcast says

ARLINGTON — Thieves out looking to steal copper wire instead made off with about 200 feet of Comcast’s fiber optic cable late last week.

As a result, nearly 20,000 cable customers in Marysville and Arlington were without service for about 14 hours.

The service outage started at about 3 a.m. Thursday. It took Comcast until about 5 p.m. to replace the cable and restore service to most of the customers affected.

Any local outage longer than that is unusual, said Steve Kipp, Comcast’s vice president of communications for Washington.

Comcast filed a police report on the vandalism and theft. In addition to stealing 200 feet of cable, about 700 feet total was pulled down from poles.

One 20-foot section of the cable was found on the Centennial Trail at mile marker 18, Kipp said.

Fiber optic cable does not contain copper wire.

“Once you cut a section, it’s worthless. There’s no street value to it,” Kipp said.

It is, however, worth reporting to the police. Comcast is offering either a $5,000 reward or two years free of its Triple Play cable/phone/internet package to anyone who offers a tip that leads to an arrest and conviction of the thieves.

People with information can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Comcast isn’t offering a blanket prorating on customers bills for the outage, Kipp said, but those who call the company’s customer service line might be helped. Comcast’s customer support line is 800-934-6489.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165 or cwinters@heraldnet.com.

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