Vandals Shut Telecom Services

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Phone services and online transactions to hundreds of thousands of area residents were disrupted overnight after thieves apparently cut through high-speed telecommunications lines to steal copper for scrap. The incident knocked out phone, Internet, e-mail, fax and some wireless services to customers from Placerville to South Lake Tahoe and to the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.

AT&T reported more than 400,000 calls were lost rendering thousands of businesses unable to use phones, Internet service, ATMs, and fax machines. Authorities believe the line was cut by someone looking to steal the copper from the line, which sells for $1.10 a pound.

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