Bell Unleashes Legal Fury on Alleged Copper Thief

Bell aliant copper

Bell recently filed a lawsuit against Stuart McCann, a man criminally charged with copper wire theft, in an effort to deter network vandalism.

The lawsuit alleges that McCann’s theft of copper telephone wire led to service disruptions for approximately 1,000 customers in the Fredericton area of New Brunswick, leaving them without home phone, internet, and TV services for around 12 hours.

Bell is also targeting McCann’s alleged co-conspirators, including individuals or scrap metal businesses suspected of knowingly purchasing the stolen copper.

Since January 2022, Bell’s network has experienced over 420 security incidents, with copper theft accounting for 75% of these cases.

The most affected regions include Ontario, accounting for 46% of incidents, New Brunswick with 24%, and Québec with 17%. These incidents have resulted in millions in damages to critical infrastructure and hundreds of hours of service interruption for customers, says the company.

“With 420 security incidents on Bell’s network since January 2022, 75% of which being copper theft, we are taking extra measures to protect our critical infrastructure by issuing lawsuits against people accused of vandalism. Our customers deserve reliable communications networks to stay connected and reach emergency services, which is taken from them after each incident until repairs are completed,” said Dana Lohnes, Director of Field Services at Bell Aliant in a statement on Wednesday.

Bell is determined to aggressively prosecute this claim and pursue future claims against individuals and scrap yards involved in copper wire theft or trafficking. The company says additional alarms, security, and local law enforcement support are not sufficient deterrents against copper thieves.

As such, Bell is urging provincial and federal governments to help telcos “improve the resiliency” of its networks. The company is calling for decisive, timely action to increase fines and amend the Criminal Code, citing critical infrastructure as essential to the security of Canada.

Back in April, Bell also sued a copper thief, issuing a similar press release naming and shaming the alleged culprit, calling on governments to take action.

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