Vandals Shut Telecom Services SurroundingLake Tahoe

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LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - (05/18/06) – Phone services and onlinetransactions to hundreds of thousands of area residents weredisrupted overnight Monday after thieves apparently cut throughhigh-speed telecommunications lines to steal copper for scrap. Theincident knocked out phone, Internet, e-mail, fax and some wirelessservices to customers from Placerville to South Lake Tahoe and tothe North Shore of Lake Tahoe, authorities said. AT&T reportedmore than 400,000 calls were lost between 8:20 pm Monday and noonTuesday, rendering thousands of businesses unable to use phones,Internet service, ATMs, and fax machines. Authorities believe theline was cut by someone looking to steal the copper from the line,which sells for $1.10 a pound as scrap metal. A similar caseoccurred last week nearby when thieves stole 1,500 feet of copperline, knocking out power to the small town of Washington and partsof Nevada City.

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