Copper theft severs state websites

SACRAMENTO -- California’s state technology infrastructure was the victim of copper theft this week, according to state officials and AT&T.

Portions of a one-mile stretch of fiber and copper cable were missing Wednesday, AT&T spokesman Alex Carey said. The cable, strung overhead like a telephone line, runs between the Vacaville and Napa areas.

State agencies started noticing problems in the early morning, and at least eight departments lost access to their websites and email, according to the California Department of Technology. The Public Utilities Commission’s website, for example, was inaccessible for much of the day.


Services for all AT&T customers were restored early Thursday morning, Carey said.

California was one of the top five states for metal theft claims, according to a 2012 report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Copper is a particularly lucrative target because its price has been increasing.

It has also been costly for taxpayers. Sacramento had to shell out $1.5 million for repairs when a quarter of the city’s 40,000 streetlights were out of commission after copper wire was stolen over the course of 18 months.


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Twitter: @chrismegerian