The Parksville Qualicum Beach area has seen a spike in wire theft.
During the past 10 days, there have been five different reported thefts or attempts. The wire has been taken from Telus communication lines in Nanoose Bay, Errington and Meadowood Way in Qualicum Beach. The wire is taken in order to sell the copper they contain for scrap.
The repairs are costly, several thousand dollars per repair, and jeopardize public safety. Communications (including 911) and internet service can be down for several hours as a result.
Specific areas where lines have been tampered with include: Shearme Road, Errington; Bowlby Road, Errington; Fairwinds Drive, Nanoose Bay at Notch Hill and Meadowood Bay, Qualicum Beach.
Cpl. Jesse Foreman of the Oceanside RCMP said the incidents are new to the area and the process of someone taking communication lines would require them climbing up tall telephone poles.
“So obviously someone has rolled into town or thought they’d come up with some kind of idea for a theft,” he said. “In one case it was fibre-optic cables, so it’s quite a mess, they have to splice all the hundreds of miniature cables.”
Telus senior communications manager Liz Sauvé said in an email her team is working closely to help identify the suspects and prevent further incidents.
“In 2012, the provincial government passed legislation cracking down on the sale of stolen metal, and while we’ve seen a reduction in the number of thefts over the past many years as a result, cable theft still remains an issue for many communities and utility providers, including Telus,” she said. “Cable theft is not specifically located to any geographic region, and impacts communities across our province and country.”
Any information that could help the RCMP and Telus in tracking down a suspect can be provided to the Oceanside RCMP at 250-248-6111. If you witness anyone tampering with communication lines, call 911.