On April 20 Verizon issued a release stating that thousands of its customers “have been cut off from critical services over the past few days as criminals have damaged or destroyed critical network facilities. There have been at least 24 suspected incidents of sabotage over the past week in five states in which services were cut off for thousands of residential and business customers, including a local police and fire department in New Jersey.”
Verizon cited the following specific incidents.
- Sliced fiber-optic cabling at a network facility box in New Jersey that cut services to customers and local emergency personnel, including police and fire departments
- Sabotage in Massachusetts in which phone services were cut off for customers for 16 hours
- Cut fiber-optic and coppercables in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York that disabled voice communications and Internet connectivity.
Michael Mason, the company’s chief security officer, said, “We will find out who’s behind these highly dangerous criminal acts and we will pursue criminal charges. These reckless perpetrators are risking the lives of countless Americans by cutting access to key lines of communications, especially to local police, fire and rescue personnel … These perpetrators are putting lives at risk and these dangerous acts need to stop. It’s a violation of federal law to damage critical communications facilities.”
The company did not specifically accuse any individuals or organizations of the cable sabotage. In its release, however, it stated, “These malicious actions take place as Verizon is experiencing a strike involving about 36,000 employees, primarily in its wireline business, in nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states plus Washington D.C. Verizon Wireless operations have had very minimal impact from the strike.”
The company is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of individuals who intentionally damage Verizon cables or facilities.”