On Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, Kingston Police arrested two individuals attempting to steal copper cables from Bell Canada’s network.
According to Mirko Bibic, President and Chief Executive Officer of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, Bell customers in the Kingston area and Eastern Ontario have been repeatedly impacted by vandalism to the network. There have been 40 incidents in this region alone since the beginning of the year, he noted.
“Since January 2022, we’ve seen more than 550 physical security incidents, representing thousands of hours of service interruption for our customers and millions of dollars in damage,” Bibic stated in a LinkedIn post. “We’d like our customers to know that we share their frustrations and we’ve responded by hiring extra security guards, and we’ve added alarms and cameras to our locations. But it’s not enough.”
In a media release, Kingston Police shared that at approximately 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, members of the Kingston Police General Patrol Division conducted a traffic stop on a truck travelling in the area of Perth Road and McAdoo’s Lane.
“Upon speaking with the driver of the truck, the keen-eyed officers observed a large number of tools scattered throughout the interior and rear of the truck. Officers were aware that the type of tools observed were consistent with tools that are used by individuals while committing wire or metal thefts,” Kingston Police said.
According to the release, officers noticed fresh footprints and scuff marks on the hood of the truck. The officers were also aware that individuals engaged in these types of criminal behaviour often used the hood of their vehicles as a platform to stand on in order to commit these specific acts.
“Further grounds were formed to arrest the driver of the truck and officers ultimately took them into custody for being in possession of break-in instruments. During the course of the subsequent investigation, the officers also located a bicycle in the rear of the truck which had previously been reported as stolen,” police continued.
Additional officers attended to assist and canvass the area for potential locations where theft may have occurred. According to the release, these officers located a vehicle stopped on the side of the road less than a kilometre away from the truck in question.
“Upon approaching the vehicle, officers observed a lone occupant inside,” police said. “Upon speaking to this individual, officers observed the rear of the vehicle was full of cased copper wire. The occupant of the vehicle was subsequently placed under arrest. A further search of the vehicle revealed several power tools used in the offence.”
According to the release, after searching the area, police discovered that approximately 100 metres of wire had been cut and dropped from telephone poles a short distance away on Perth Road.
Both accused individuals were subsequently transported to Kingston Police headquarters and held for a bail hearing.
A 31-year-old individual, and a 32-year-old individual, both of Kingston, were charged with:
- possession of property obtained by crime not exceeding $5,000
- mischief to property exceeding $5,000
- possession of break-in instruments
- theft not exceeding $5,000
In a statement, Bibic said that they are calling on the provincial and federal governments to “help protect this critical infrastructure” by making the penalties stiffer and amending the criminal code to deter vandals and those who purchase or traffic in stolen materials.
“Canadians deserve reliable communications networks. It’s time to protect this critical infrastructure, and it’s time for our laws to reflect the essential nature of telecommunications services for residents and businesses,” he said.
“I would like to thank law enforcement who are working hard to apprehend criminals purposely damaging our critical infrastructure and jeopardizing residents’ ability to communicate with each other. If anyone has information concerning copper cable theft or any criminal activity impacting our network, please don’t hesitate to contact your local police.”