Would-be copper thief knocks out Shelter Island phone lines

Greenport, Shelter Island, Verizon

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Verizon workers Scott Hickerson and Tom Meyer at work in Greenport.

Verizon employees are working around the clock to repair a severed phone cord that runs from Greenport to Shelter Island, Verizon officials said.

A would-be thief cut the cord — about the width of a grapefruit — Wednesday night at the shoreline just east of the town beach in an attempt to steal copper wiring, said Verizon splicer Tom Meyer.

But the person succeeded only in cutting phone service to many Shelter Island phone lines.

Those lines remain out of service as of Saturday and could continue to be out of service until the cord is completely repaired.

Because the large cord is made up of bundles of wire pairs, which represent specific phone lines, Verizon employees must first identify each line and ensure it is working before they put the bundle back together again, Mr. Meyer said.

“We’ll be working all day and night until this is resolved,” he said as he worked Saturday morning. “The police are aware of the situation.”

The employees work in 12-hour shifts.

Scott Hickerson, another splicer, said the job could take another three or four days before it is completed. The so-called submarine cord runs under the water to Shelter Island from Greenport.

Southold police officers said they could not comment until the chief and captain return to work after the three-day break Tuesday.

Shelter Island Supervisor James Dougherty called it “unacceptable” that it would take so many days to resolve the problem.

He said town should consider using two phone providers for land lines in the future, so there is redundancy in the case of an emergency with one.

gvolpe@timesreview.com

With Peter Boody

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