Police Hunt Silicon Valley Phone Vandals

50K lose service in attack that highlights systems' vulnerability
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2009 11:50 AM CDT
Business that relied on landlines for the debit- and credit-card operations were crippled by the vandalism.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Authorities in Silicon Valley are hunting for saboteurs who cut fiber-optic telecom cables, leaving more than 50,000 customers—including police and hospitals—in parts of three counties without phone and internet service, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Ten cables were severed, crippling 911 operations, cellphone service, and businesses depending on landlines for debit- and credit-card transactions. The incident, officials say, underscores the vulnerability of the system.

“Currently we are ready for earthquakes, we are ready for fires and most everything else,” one county supervisor said. “We weren't ready for cables being clipped in South San Jose.” An AT&T spokesman said the vandals looked to have insider information or experience, KCBS-AM reports. San Jose’s police chief said his investigators are hot on the trail, adding, “I pity the individual who has done this.”