Verizon on Thursday said it is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest following a spate of “incidents of sabotage” across the Northeast.
Over the past several days, Verizon said unknown parties have “damaged or destroyed critical network facilities” in at least 24 separate incidents in five states. Impacted areas include New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, the carrier said.
Verizon said the vandalism has resulted in sliced fiber optic cabling at a network facility box in New Jersey that cut service to both Verizon customers and local emergency personnel; undefined “sabotage” in Massachusetts in which phone services were cut off for customers for 16 hours; and cut fiber optic cables in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York that disabled voice communications and internet connectivity. Verizon said it has dispatched additional security teams in all states where the activity is taking place and is collaborating with local law enforcement agencies.
“We will find out who is behind these highly dangerous criminal acts and we will pursue criminal charges,” Verizon’s chief security officer Michael Mason said in a statement. “These reckless perpetrators are risking the lives of countless Americans by cutting access to key lines of communications, especially to local police, fire and rescue personnel. If someone has an emergency and needs to contact local authorities, these malicious actions could prevent that from happening.”
Verizon said the $10,000 will be awarded for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of individuals involved in the incidents.
The vandalism comes amid an ongoing strike of nearly 40,000 Verizon wireline workers in the Northeast, who walked off the job last Wednesday after contract negotiations between Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the carrier failed to yield progress.
The CWA said Verizon has failed to meet pledges to expand FiOS broadband and accused the carrier of looking to move jobs out of the United States.
“My co-workers and I want nothing more than to help our customers get the service and quality they want and deserve and provide for our own families,” Brooklyn-based Verizon field technician Anthony Finocchio said in a statement Thursday. “By settling a fair contract that protects good jobs in our communities, Verizon can reestablish itself as a company that values its customers and invests in its own long-term strength and success.”
Verizon workers are currently on strike in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Filed Under: Infrastructure