Vandals are stealing internet wiring and cables from under a bridge in Seattle, which has many wondering how long until they start stealing essential parts from the bridge itself.
Copper wiring and fiber-optic cables were cut and stolen from under the Magnolia Bridge twice last week, causing internet and phone outages in the surrounding area. Wiring and cables under the bridge were cut and stolen Thursday. After repairs were made, the cables and wiring were stripped again on Friday.
Homes and businesses in the area have been without phone and internet service for almost a week and the damage could take up to three weeks to repair.
CenturyLink Seattle wrote on Twitter, "We are making progress on the repairs to the voice & Internet for Magnolia customers affected by recent theft and vandalism. Thanks to Seattle police for protecting our equipment and team. Due to the extent of the damage, repairs may take 2-3 weeks. We appreciate your patience."
According to Safe Seattle, there has been an RV encampment in the area for about four years which the city refuses to clear.
A neighbor told the outlet that after cutting through a fence under the bridge, "The vagrants have tapped into the bridge lighting circuit to power their RVs, and presumably their saws, saws they used to slice through almost ALL the fiber optic and copper telephone cables that run to Magnolia."
"The vagrants came back a second time to cut the remaining section out. The phone company showed up as one of them was stripping wires. They tried to contact the city to move the derelict RVs out of the way so they could access and repair this critical infrastructure, since the theft was affecting 911 calls from Magnolia. They couldn't get ahold of anyone at the city, so they called 911."
Neighbors are now left concerned that the vandals will start removing parts of the bridge structure itself. Seattle officials have already let multiple bridges in the city fall into disrepair, most notably the West Seattle Bridge which has been closed to traffic for the better part of two years.
Complicating the situation is Seattle's homeless population. Smoke can regularly be seen coming from fires in homeless encampments under freeways.