Ala. earns dubious distinction: copper cable theft leader

Alabama has picked up an unusual distinction: AT&T says the state now leads the nation in the theft of copper telephone cable.

As the company worked Wednesday to replace a phone cable that was stolen in Birmingham, AT&T spokeswoman Sue Sperry said a rash of crimes has left Alabama on top for the value of stolen cable. That's despite the fact that Alabama ranks 23rd nationally in population.

Thieves typically cut cable off telephone poles at night. But they've also removed cables during the daytime and broken into buildings to take the copper wiring, which is then sold to scrap dealers.

Sperry says the problem is particularly bad in Birmingham, parts of Anniston and Prichard, which is near Mobile. AT&T is offering a $5,000 reward for information about the thefts.

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