Wire thief leaves some without phone, TV, Internet during weekend in Merced

Authorities reported that a thief recently ripped about 40 feet of copper wire out of the ground near the Bradley Overpass in Merced, leaving an area of town without phone or Internet service for two days.

AT&T spokesman Alex Carey said the wire was running underground and covered by temporary barriers.

Carey said the thief clipped pieces of wire from several locations to remove a total of about 40 feet Saturday night.

Some residents in the area were without landline phone, Internet and U-verse TV access until workers restored the services late Monday, Carey said. Other repairs continued Tuesday, he said, declining to provide details on the customers left without service.

“We don’t give customer numbers in any areas,” Carey said. “It was a small area of affected customers.”

Copper wire and aluminum electrical boxes can be a target for thieves looking to sell the items as scrap metal.