Suddenlink Cable Repairs Continue, Public’s Help Requested

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
A Suddenlink technician mends the fiber optic cable next to the culvert that the vandal apparently stood on. KLH | Eye

A Suddenlink technician mends the fiber optic cable next to the culvert that the vandal apparently stood on. KLH | Eye

Eye Staff Report

BAYSIDE/HUMBOLDT – Suddenlink technicians are still toiling out on Old Arcata Road to repair the severed fiber optic cable. Some customers report television service restored, but some 10,000 Suddenlink customers in Arcata, McKinleyville, Blue Lake, Samoa, Trinidad and Big Lagoon had been left without service.

On Wednesday, April 17 at about 4:15 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of another vandalism to Suddenlinks Fiber Optic Cable that had occurred in the area of Lorenz Lane and Old Arcata Road, Bayside.

The damaged cable was cut, according to the HCSO. The unknown suspect(s) used a culvert pipe to stand on to allow them access to the elevated cable. The suspect(s) are believed to have used a cutting instrument to cut the line.

“This incident appears to be related to the earlier incidents in March,” said Wendy Purnell, Suddenlink director of operations. “Our technicians are on-site at the damaged area and are in the process of restoring service. Some areas are now restored and we are working diligently on the remainder. In the meantime, we continue to work actively with local law enforcement to put a stop to these crimes. The Sheriff’s Office has interviewed persons of interest and is looking for additional information to support the arrest of the criminals responsible for this vandalism. And that’s why we’ve increased our reward to $10,000 for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of these individuals. Enough is enough.”

suddenlink cable posterTo date there have been five vandalism attacks on Suddenlink’s fiber optic cables. Cost of the current attack is estimated at $25,000. Total cost by Suddenlink to repair the lines after all the recent attacks is estimated to be at least $75,000. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and Suddenlink are encouraging the public to call in any suspicious activity they may observe near telephone/ cable lines, especially during the late night/ early morning hours.

HCSO Sgt. Steve Knight said a detective is working on the case. The far-flung nature of the cable system makes it difficult to identify and apprehend suspects. “You’re dealing with a system that’s all over the map,” Knight said. But, he added, “there are different tools that detective investigators use.”

Suddenlink has also retained a detective agency, Cooke and Associates Private Investigations, to assist with the effort to identify suspects.

APD Det. Sgt. Todd Dokweiler said the outage has hampered business at APD by complicating communication with Sacramento.
Citizens whose telephone service is down and who call 911 via cell phone are routed through the California Highway Patrol rather than reaching APD directly. That will delay response, and it also means APD won’t have location data on callers.

Fiber optic cable vandalism is not exclusive to Humboldt. On April 9, an attack in Silicon Valley left a million Internet users offline for a time.

This is an ongoing investigation and the Sheriff’s Office is actively working to identify a suspect or suspects in these crimes and to stop further vandalisms and interruptions to Suddenlink’s services. Detectives have interviewed several people regarding this crime. 

 Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case – possibly someone who may have seen a vehicle parked in an odd place late at night – is encouraged to call Detective Kirkpatrick of the Sheriff’’s Criminal Investigations Division at (707) 268-3640 or the Sheriff’s Tip Line at (707) 268-2539.