Dumb Thieves With Saws, Not Guns, To Blame For Internet Blackout

from the by-saw-or-by-gun dept

Well, well, well. Earlier this week we wrote about a report (the second one we’d ever heard of!) saying that gunfire had damaged a fiber optic cable, causing a bit of an internet slowdown in the northeastern part of the US. Turns out that wasn’t exactly accurate — though the real story isn’t necessarily any less bizarre. It appears that the cable was actually cut with a saw, most likely by thieves hoping it was copper that could be sold. Of course, fiber optic cables don’t contain copper, so the thieves ended up with something worth a lot less than they expected. But what about the gunshot? Well, it turns out that when crews arrived to fix up the cable, they discovered that the replacement cable had been shot up by gunfire. It’s not explained how or why this might have happened, but the folks who store the fiber optic cable might want to come up with a better storage place.

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Comments on “Dumb Thieves With Saws, Not Guns, To Blame For Internet Blackout”

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PK says:

Re: Re: The guys who check out and replace fiber..

My former job was splicing fiber for a large telecom outfit, and I came across a cable that some strands were broken due to shotgun pellets in the cable. I guess someone was hunting and shot a bird off the line…Who knows!!. But it sure took a while to find where it was broken.

golftango says:

y2k midwatch at the sprint noc ...

… all hands (and managers) present watching for the slightest anomaly when around 0300ct we lose connection to the southeast quadrant. after the hands nearly get trampled by managers eager to prove they can–by damm–still troubleshoot they wring a hard-fought rfo from the sprint plc center in atlanta: some drunk rednecks in a pickup truck shot down some aerial fiber with a shotgun.

and thus passed y2k into fleeting memory …


Malestone7469 says:

I shot 'em up

Me and mah gang was thah to steal ‘um copper cables, but we were sore disappointed.
Saw some othah cables lying ’round so decided to hav some fun!
Shot ’em up with the .44 and blasted up with the shotguns, and see them cables ain’t made of the dratted thing we came for. I ain’t seen so much glass fly out of ’em.
Drat! Drat! and Double Drat!

Could have saved the shots and sold the copper instead….

AT&T michigan bell cable instalation and repai says:

cable shot up

listen, anyone can see a cable was shot up. as a life long repairman i have seen squirell chews, saw marks, bullet holes and lightning strikes etc you canT imagine what hits cable. we know damn well what we are looking at! we repair cable for a living!. 25 years now for me. people shoot at cable for no reason it not uncommon. after you have 25 years you can complain we dont know what we are doing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: cable shot up

I know a guy who has been driving for twice as long as that, 50 years. The other day he ran off the road and wound up in the ditch. He claimed to have been dodging a bunch of space aliens on the road. He was absolutely sure of it. And he knew what he was talking about, by golly, because he’d been driving for 50 years!

The point is, repairing cables for 25 years doesn’t come anywhere near to making you a forensics expert. Hopefully, you are a good repairman, but even that is not guaranteed. Some people do things their whole lives and still don’t get it right. For example, how long have you been reading and writing? Longer than than you’ve repairing cables I’d suspect, and yet you still don’t know how to capitalize properly.

name says:

Re: Re: cable shot up

“Longer than than you’ve repairing cables I’d suspect, and yet you still don’t know how to capitalize properly.”

“than than” maybe u should get some english lessons as well. when u have no argument about the article why do u choose to point out grammer mistakes? its R-E-T-A-R-D-E-D. Get a life. last time i checked no ones grading this crap, and so what if they are. find someone else to vent ur anger with the world at deutsche bag!

“Peace and Love my fellow beings”


Pawh (user link) says:

Dad Blammitt' Squirrels !

Went over to the communications area of Cleveland and shot hundreds of ground squirrels (sage rats) last weekend. Boy was that a blast. For any of you who have not done this before, you’ve got to put it on your to-do list.

Between six of us, we probably shot 300 of the little suckers in less than two days. Went through about 6,000 rounds of .22lr. The best part of it is that the ISP’s love people to come out and shoot them. There are thousands of the them living in the server farms. SysAdmins hate ’em ’cause they tear up their PC Networks.

Basically, we just rode around in the back of a truck around the vast server farms and shot squirrels all day. Spent all day in 1-2 server farms. Then, that night, we went out spotlighting for jack rabbits. That was fun too, but there weren’t too many rabbits out that night.

Anyway, just thought I’d tell you all about the trip. If you ever get the chance to go over to Eastern Oregon to shoot some squirrels, you should do it. You won’t be disappointed.

Lars (user link) says:


Ya know,

One of these days we are going to have a real necktie party.

Until we reach a point where there is no need for cables -(prayer to high up on Heaven, “Scottie, Beam me up ! There is no intelligent life !”)-there will always be room to discuss the hilarity of the brain dead of this planet as it relates to shooting holes in communications cables.

’nuff said !

Tom says:

Yes, bullets in the fiber does happen

I work for a cable company and we have had outages that were due to bullets in the fiber. The outage was oddly sporadic and causing the signal to go out to areas in the forward, and then other areas the modem return would cease.

The fiber was OTDR’d and we saw the issue at the certain distance and then go away. We drove out the span and and saw no damage. after just isolating the section and cutting out several hundred feet we found a .38 that had entered the jacket at an angle then traveled inside the armor jacket that surrounds the actual fiber buffer tubes. The bullet had traveled well over a meter down the length of the cable, essentially hiding it. Not as easy to find as bar darts and arrows that get up there as well.

My grammar is yours to destroy as you see fit. >_

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