By Matt Petrillo


CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — A serial saboteur is on the run in South Jersey. Police say the suspect intentionally damages or destroys Verizon Fios cables.

It’s costing Verizon tens of thousands of dollars in repairs, and the vandalism is putting people at risk.

Authorities say there have been at least 10 incidents in recent months. Each time a Verizon fiber is cut, whole streets of homes and businesses are left without a way to use their internet and landline phones, including no way to call police.

Credit: CBS3

“It’s a surgical cut to the fiber optic line to cause an extensive disruption of service,” Cherry Hill Police Chief William Monaghan said.

Monaghan said the man used something to snip Verizon’s fiber optic lines on three separate occasions in Cherry Hill, plus several other areas throughout Burlington and Camden Counties.

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Every incident happened after midnight, impacting thousands of homes and businesses. Neighbors say the idea of not being able to call 911 has them on edge.

“It’s a scary thing. You never want to be without the ability to get that emergency contact,” one resident said.

It usually takes Verizon less than 24 hours to make fixes to the lines, like one incident on Springdale Road. But for many, that’s way too long to not be able to contact a first responder during a possible emergency.

“They should be held accountable for whatever damage they caused,” another resident said.

Police think the Verizon cutter could be a former disgruntled employee. No one has been named, but officers point out what the suspect is doing is more than just vandalism.

“They’re putting the safety of a lot of people at risk,” Monaghan said. “That delay in getting through to emergency services could cost someone their life.”

Verizon really wants to find the cord cutter. The company is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.