HESPERIA Chun Tirado saw a familiar sight outside her home on Thursday, and it angered her.


Tirado saw Verizon crews repairing phone lines near G Avenue and Hercules Street which, according to Verizon authorities, were cut and stolen by copper thieves. This is the second time in as many months, Tirado said.


"Last month some people came and cut the wires in the same place and they cut my phone line," she said. "It's dangerous because if there's an emergency at my house the alarm people wouldn't know."


Thieves were able to make off with about 150 feet of copper wiring sometime Wednesday night, according to Jaryyd Gonzales, spokesman for Verizon.


"The copper thefts are not only inconvenient for our customers, but (copper thieves) remove vital communications links for people who may not have another way to reach loved ones or emergency responders," Gonzales said.


Tirado does have a cell phone to make calls, but said her home security system is linked to her home's land line.


"They said if anything were to happen, they wouldn't get the signal," she said. "That's dangerous and it has to stop."


According to Gonzales, copper wire theft has been an ongoing problem for Verizon. So much so that the company has set up a security tip line and has offered a $10,000 reward for the arrest and prosecution of any one found stealing Verizon's copper wiring.


There is currently legislation in place that makes it a felony to be found with more than $950 of stolen copper, Gonzales said.


"We're trying to send a message that this is a serious issue and it puts public safety potentially at risk," he said.


To report copper theft to Verizon Security, call (800) 997-3287. Anyone with information on Wednesday night's theft can also call the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Hesperia station at (760) 947-1500 or call WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME.


Beatriz E. Valenzuela may be reached at (760) 951-6276 or at BValenzuela@VVDailyPress.com.