Crooks make off with hundreds of feet of telephone wiring in Knox County, all in an effort to steal copper! The theft knocked out phone service to hundreds of people.
Now Windstream is offering a large reward for information that leads to an arrest.
It happened in thick brush of Highway 11, where crooks found their goldmine.
"Went and looked around, found it was hanging down and had been cut," said Chris Campbell, Operations Manager with Windstream.
Windstream officials worked Tuesday to get phone service back to 450 customers who did without.
"Expecting telephone calls, but they don't come in. You don't know why but things happen," said Garrett Shields, who lost phone service.
The company is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in a heist they say is dangerous for both the thieves and paying customers.
Officials said the crooks got away with about 200 feet of telephone cable.
"The total weight of that cable they drug out from us the other day was probably 800 pounds," said Campbell.
Campbell said the company's hefty reward is sparked by an increase in copper thefts that are more than just an inconvenience.
"It puts our customers in danger. People are just cut off from the world," said Campbell.
Customers like Garrett Shields, who has words of wisdom for the thieves.
"For the money you get out of it, it isn't worth it. It causes too many people problems. My advice, go get a job," said Campbell.
Campbell said the copper the crooks got away with would only be worth about six hundred dollars.
The company filed a report with the Knox County Sheriff's Office.