Bell files another lawsuit against accused copper thief to help deter network vandalism

Jun 28, 2023

  • More than 420 security incidents, primarily copper theft, to Bell's network since January 2022
  • Most impacted regions include Ontario with 46% of incidents, New Brunswick with 24% and Québec with 17%
  • Millions in damages to critical infrastructure and hundreds of hours of service interruption for customers as a result
  • Bell calls on provincial and federal governments for increased fines and amendments to the Criminal Code to protect critical infrastructure

FREDERICTON, NB, June 28, 2023 /CNW/ - Bell recently filed a lawsuit in New Brunswick against Stuart McCann, who has been criminally charged with theft of copper wire. The lawsuit alleges Mr. McCann stole copper telephone wire, causing approximately 1,000 customers in the Fredericton area to lose home phone, Internet and TV for approximately 12 hours. Bell is also pursuing all of Mr. McCann's co-conspirators, including any individuals or scrap metal businesses who knowingly purchased the stolen copper.

"With 420 security incidents on Bell's network since January 2022, 75% of which being copper theft, we are taking extra measures to protect our critical infrastructure by issuing lawsuits against people accused of vandalism. Our customers deserve reliable communications networks to stay connected and reach emergency services, which is taken from them after each incident until repairs are completed."

Dana Lohnes, Director of Field Services, Bell Aliant

Bell intends to vigorously prosecute this claim, and pursue future claims against individuals and scrap yards who engage in copper wire theft or trafficking.

Bell Aliant crew restoring service to customers after an incident of copper theft in New Brunswick. (CNW Group/Bell Canada)

Incidents of copper theft are on the rise, responsible for 75% of security incidents on Bell's network. Vandals are cutting down telecommunication cables from poles to steal the copper wire and then selling that copper for cash. Each incident takes on average 10 to 12 hours to repair, and during this time customers may not have access to Internet, TV and home phone, which impacts their ability to reach emergency services.   

Extra alarms, security and support from local law enforcement isn't enough of a deterrent. Bell is calling on provincial and federal governments to help communications providers improve the resiliency of Canada's telecommunications networks. Governments need to take decisive, timely action to increase fines and make amendments to the Criminal Code, reflecting the essential nature of this critical infrastructure on the security of this country.

About Bell

Bell is Canada's largest communications company1, providing advanced broadband wireless, TV, Internet, media and business communication services throughout the country. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca or BCE.ca.

Through Bell for Better, we are investing to create a better today and a better tomorrow by supporting the social and economic prosperity of our communities with a commitment to the highest environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. This includes the Bell Let's Talk initiative, which promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let's Talk Day and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research and workplace leadership initiatives throughout the country. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

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Based on total revenue and total combined customer connections

Media inquiries
Katie Hatfield
katie.hatfield@bellaliant.ca 
@Bell_News

Investor inquiries
Richard Bengian
richard.bengian@bell.ca

SOURCE Bell Canada