Thieves Hitting Utility Boxes Across Chicago

(CBS) – It’s happening all over the city: thieves targeting critical pieces of equipment that help provide broadband service.

At 100 pounds apiece, why would anyone take what’s inside them? CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.

Ald. Joe Moore shows us an AT & T utility box in his 49th Ward.

“These are the boxes in my community that they have been breaking into.”

He finds a cut lock on the ground, below it.

Moore says the AT&T batteries inside these boxes — serving as boosters for service enhancement — have been targeted by thieves across the city.

In just the past month, in Rogers Park, there have been at least six AT & T utility boxes broken into, and the batteries taken out. Moore thinks the batteries are being peddled at scrap  yards.

“These batteries are worth about $600 and I’m sure they’re just getting pennies on the dollar,” the alderman says.

AT & T says anyone with information can call in with a tip, and remain anonymous.

“Vandalism of communications infrastructure is a serious matter that affects public safety and the community at large,” a utility spokesperson says. “We are working with law enforcement investigating these incidents. Tipsters with information can remain anonymous and should call law enforcement or our Asset Protection team at 1-800-807-4205.”

“In 2001, our networks were declared National Critical Infrastructures in recognition of their importance to the nation’s security. Federal and state laws are applicable to anyone who tampers with, destroys or disrupts the company’s network or its components.”

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