A crime alert was issued today in response to a spate of thefts targeting amplifiers and connectors found inside cable boxes belonging to Charter Communications in the city of Cerritos over the past few weeks.
More than 1,000 of these gray or brown colored cable boxes, which are located along residential sidewalks and on arterial streets in the parkways, are required to deliver digital cable signals to Charter customers. However, when the targeted parts are removed, cable service to homes in that area is interrupted.
“We’ve had more than 20 stolen over the past three weeks,” Detective Sgt. Keith Kanouse said. “The thefts are usually happening in the early morning hours and sometimes during the daytime.”
The thefts also appear to be occurring in close proximity to one another. Earlier this week five cases were reported in residential neighborhoods northwest of South Street and Palos Verde Avenue, according to the sheriff’s station.
Kanouse said the amplifiers are worth between $300 to $600 apiece, and the connectors are valued at roughly $40.
“Whoever is taking them knows exactly what they're doing because they're clean cut at the connector sites,” the sergeant said, adding that these items are being stolen within just a matter of minutes.
When one of these items is tampered with or taken, cable service is immediately disrupted and an alert is sent to Charter, likely indicating that another one of these thefts has occurred.
But by the time a service repairman responds to the site a few hours later and the sheriff’s station is subsequently notified, the thief is long gone.
“Sometimes we don’t get a call for several hours,” the sergeant added.
In an effort to catch the person(s) responsible for these crimes, a plan is now in place when a Charter service disruption alert is triggered.
“A call will come to us immediately and we’ll send a patrol unit out right away,” Kanouse added.
The has asked that if you see anyone other than a uniformed Charter employee in a marked Charter Communications vehicle stopped at, or tampering with these boxes, to call 911 or the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station at (562) 860-0044 immediately.
If possible, callers are also asked to try and provide a vehicle license plate number and a description of the suspect vehicle and any suspect(s).