FBI seeks witnesses to Bay Area fiber optic line vandalism

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The FBI is asking for help in finding the people responsible for vandalizing buried fiber optic cables at 10 locations in the East and South Bay over the past year. (KGO-TV)

The FBI is investigating acts of sabotage against telecom companies here in the Bay Area and now they're looking for help. Vandals have been cutting fiber optic cable lines in four East Bay cities and in San Jose.

"A couple buildings," said Berkeley restaurant owner Chris Saulnier. "I mean, these guys here and then a couple of buildings down here as well."

It happened last year on April 6 at the 900 Grayson Restaurant. Phone service was restored in a day. But the restaurant's credit card machine took a long time to come back on line.

"When we lose the credit card machine, it's very impactful," said Saulnier. "It's a little more complicated for us to do our transactions."

He thought it was just a strange, isolated power failure. It was not.

Someone intentionally cut the fiber optic cables near his restaurant. And since that time over the past year, there've been nine other locations in five cities where cables have been severed -- five in Fremont, two incidents in Walnut Creek, and once incident a piece in Berkeley, San Jose, and Alamo.

They belong to various telecom companies, including AT&T.

In most cases, the cables were in underground vaults covered by heavy manhole covers. Some are along highways and others in remote areas.

The acts of sabotage resemble what happened six years ago when vandals cut underground cables at four sites, knocking out phone and Internet service to 50,000 South Bay customers.

AT&T did not return ABC7 News' calls on Monday.

It's not known if the same people are responsible for the recent sabotage.

The FBI is coordinating the investigation.
Related Topics:
crimeinvestigationFBItechnologyvandalismAT&Ttelephonebusinessrestaurantpower outageWalnut CreekBerkeleyAlamoSan Jose
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