A thief scaled at least two 18-foot utility poles to steal 200 feet of telephone cable, cutting service Tuesday to 650 homes near Escondido, officials said.
Pacific Bell officials offered a $5,000 reward for information that helps authorities find the culprit, who was probably interested in selling the copper wire for scrap metal.
At least 650 customers in rural subdivisions near Old Castle Road and Leisure Lane north of Escondido were left without service as a result of the theft. Most were in the 749- and 751- prefixes.
Service was expected to be restored by the end of the day.