Neighbors without phone service for weeks after rash of copper thefts

Published: Jan. 1, 2018 at 11:51 PM EST
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Telephone company technicians will be hard at work in Mingo County Tuesday morning, making repairs in areas targeted in a recent rash of copper theft.

Frontier Communications officials say the latest incident occured Monday in Matewan.

A spokesperson for the communication company says the problem has surfaced over the past two weeks in particular, near the area of Matewan, Delbarton and Varney in Mingo County.

Neighbors near Delbarton say some of the earliest outages began happening on about Dec. 20. Many neighbors were without phone service for Christmas.

While some have gotten their phone and internet connections back since then, others have not.

Arlene Gartin is the manager at Mudders restaurant. She says it's been nearly two weeks now since she's been able to take any calls to fill pickup or delivery orders and she's worried whether her business, which is just two months old, will be able to survive the resulting drought of customers.

"This has devastated us," Gartin said. "Seventy-five percent of our busiess was our delivery and without the calls I'm hanging on by threads."

Frontier leaders are urging everyone to keep an eye out for suspicous activity. They say thieves will often stash large amounts of loose cables in their vehicles or burn piles of cables to get to the copper inside.