Copper theft could be to blame for Pacific Palisades phone, internet outage

Hundreds of Pearl City residents got their phone and internet service restored on Wednesday.

Hawaiian Telcom customers lost services for over a day and someone who was trying to steal copper may be to blame.

The company says they found a cable that was cut in Pacific Palisades.

More than 10 Hawaiian Telcom trucks lined Komo Mai Drive as workers prepped for a not-so-typical repair.

“It appears that our cable, which is about half-a-mile through the brush back there, was cut open with something. Had to have been a saw or something,” Hawaiian Telcom spokesperson Ann Nishida Fry said.

Crews carried their equipment across Waimano Stream and uphill. They were fixing a cable that was found sliced on Tuesday, leaving 200 customers in Pacific Palisades without phone or internet service.

“Of course it’s speculation, but being that it was a copper cable that was cut open, one could make that leaps, that they were looking for cable,” Nishida Fry said.

It’s speculation because no witnesses have come forward and nothing was stolen. But the would-be thief was crafty — even using branches against a tree to reach the high cable.

The company has filed a police report, hoping to find some answers. But officials think they know why nothing was taken.

“In many of our cables, there is a gel that sticks to the copper and makes it undesirable for resale,” Nishida Fry said.

Hawaiian Telcom says this crime is frustrating. It continues to happen and continues to affect various people.

“It’s a frustrating situation for us because it impacts our customers and again it poses dangerous safety threats for our crews,” Nishida Fry said.

If Hawaiian Telcom customers reported the problem, they will receive a pro-rated credit for services lost.

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