POUND -- Wise County Sheriff's Office investigators are developing leads in the theft of phone lines in a rural part of the county near Pound that left around 400 customers without service last week.
Wise County Sheriff Ronnie Oakes on Wednesday said roughly 1,000 feet "or more" of lines were cut away from utility poles on two occasions last week, leaving customers primarily in the Flat Gap and South Fork areas without landline service upon which they mostly rely.
"It's terrible someone would do this. Cell service is not the best up there, so can you imagine somebody would do this? Fire, rescue calls, emergencies, that just causes needless risk for people," Oakes said. "And, you can see how expensive it is for the phone company to replace those lines and restore service. We do have some leads. My investigative staff is working hard on this."