Cable theft becoming big problem for TelEm

POSTED: 09/23/11 12:52 PM

TelEm Group, Field Controller Zone 3, Vincent Caines, shows the type of company cable that is being stolen by thieves, leaving some areas without telecommunication services.

St. Maarten – TelEm Group is stepping up action against thieves who are stripping cables from the company’s underground telecommunication network and reselling them for scrap metal. The company issued a statement about the trend because the thefts lead to increased costs and they negatively impact customers.
“The theft and damage of TelEm Group telecommunication cables is not only expensive to replace, but also constitutes a great danger to the community, therefore we must take this development very seriously,” TelEm Group’s Chief Technical Officer Eldert Louisa said.

The latest theft took place in Middle Region last week. Thieves sawed a cable in two and made off with it. Their action knocked out landline and internet service for more than 400 TelEm Group customers. The company hopes to restore the service today.
“We have been hampered by poor weather and difficult access due to road works in the area, but if all goes as planned service should be resumed by Friday,” TelEm Group outside Plant Manager Anthony Carty said.
The company also had to deal with a similar incident in Cole Bay recently. The common thread between the Middle Region and Cole Bay thefts and thefts in other areas is that the cables are exposed.
“Sometimes, like in the case in Middle Region we have no option but to leave the cable exposed while road works are ongoing. Once the work is finished the cables are buried again and they are out of sight. While they are waiting to go underground they should be left alone and not tampered with,” TelEm Group outside Plant Manager Anthony Carty said

The Middle Region theft has been reported to the police. The company has also begun drafting plans for more security and plan to meet the public prosecutor to discuss what action the company can take in the event their cables are found at salvage and scrap metal companies. Notices are also being posted in the local media warning of prosecution of those who either tamper with or maliciously damage the company’s underground telecommunication cables. The company also wants the public to help in identifying the thieves.
“If someone sees such an action taking place in their own area and they don’t do anything to stop it or report it, they are not only putting their community in danger but also themselves and their own families who will not be able to use their phone in the event of an emergency,” Carty said.
“The cooperation of the general public is requested to prevent this very serious situation from getting out of hand,” Louisa added.
Salvage companies are also being asked to report if anyone offers to sell them TelEm Group’s telecommunication cables. All reports will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

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