HomePine Bluff newsPine Bluff addresses surging copper wire theft problem

Pine Bluff addresses surging copper wire theft problem

Pine Bluff, Arkansas – Pine Bluff has recently found itself grappling with a vexing issue: relentless copper wire thefts. These thefts have not only been a source of frustration but have also led to substantial disruptions, particularly in internet services. Jesse Turner, a resident of Pine Bluff, expressed his exasperation, highlighting the annoyance of internet outages during crucial moments.

The situation reached a point where repeated repairs seemed futile as thieves continued to target AT&T’s internet lines with alarming persistence. This ongoing problem prompted the city to take decisive action.

Lanette Frazier, a city councilwoman, emphasized the importance of reliable internet and services, indicating the necessity of addressing this issue. Ronnie Dedman, a veteran with nearly five decades of experience at AT&T and now working as a consultant, shed light on the financial toll of these thefts. He revealed that, in material costs alone, AT&T had incurred expenses nearing a quarter of a million dollars in just the past 90 days.

In response to this crisis, the city, along with AT&T, has initiated a strategic shift. Rather than continually repairing the vulnerable above-ground lines, they have opted for a more secure solution: burying the cables. Mayor Shirley Washington confirmed that most of the cables have already been placed underground, a move that promises to mitigate future thefts.

Additionally, to incentivize community involvement in resolving this issue, a reward of $5,000 has been announced for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. Jesse Turner, while appreciative of these efforts, believes that more comprehensive measures, such as requiring a permit to sell copper, should be implemented. He advocates for an ordinance or state law to address the challenges faced by Pine Bluff and other communities across the state.

As the city unites in tackling these copper wire thefts, residents like Turner see these actions as steps in the right direction. Meanwhile, anyone with information about the thefts is encouraged to contact the Pine Bluff Police Department, as the community works together to restore normalcy and security.

Olivia Martinez

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