State police say they're investigating damage caused to Verizon equipment that disrupted service in parts of Central New York, including 911 emergency calls in two counties.
Troopers say Verizon reported a fiber optic circuit box had been damaged on Doyle Road in the Oneida County town of Deerfield either Monday or Tuesday. It appears someone broke into the box and cut wires. Police say the damaged knocked out Verizon's landline service and also knocked out cell service to the county's northern areas.
Oneida County officials say 911 calls weren't getting through in those areas or in sections of neighboring Herkimer County. An Oneida County dispatcher says the 911 system is back up and running Wednesday morning.
Lewis County Sheriff Mike Talbot tells The Associated Press that calls to his department's administration lines were disrupted Tuesday but the 911 system wasn't affected.
State police say the damage could have created a dangerous situation.
"If it was done intentionally, you're looking at not only the physical end of it, but also, what could've happened, say if you weren't aware of it, and you couldn't get ahold of 911," says Trooper Jack Keller.
The damage is still affecting people who live in some parts of Oneida County.
The South Trenton bar saw a 25% decline in business Tuesday night because no one could call in to order their pizza and wing special, and the owner, Ralph Dittenhoefer, says he expects a similar decline for Wednesday wing night. He says he hopes police catch the person responsible.
"I hope they're held liable for every dollar that every private businessman loses," says Dittenhoefer.
If anyone has information about this case, they are asked to contact State Police in Marcy at (315) 736-8802.
Verizon's 45,000 landline workers went on strike Sunday .
Michael Garry, the president of CWA Local 1126, the union representing the striking workers in the Utica area, says damaging the circuit box is "not something we would ever condone or advocate." Garry adds that many families of Verizon workers live in the area affected by the disruption in service. He says the union is condemning the vandalism as a "deplorable act."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.