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Suspected copper thief charged in latest data outage

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:07 a.m. HST, Jan 26, 2013

A 42-year-old homeless man, believed to have caused the telecommunication disruption after a cable was cut near the Honolulu Airport Wednesday night causing 500 Hawaiian Telcom telephone and Internet customers to lose service for nearly 12 hours, was charged Friday with copper theft.

Julian Medina has been charged with a copper theft, a class C felony. His bail was set at $15,000. He was arrested on Kilihau Street at 10:55 p.m. Wednesday, about an hour after the cable was cut.

The fiber-optic communications cable under the viaduct, where the westbound lanes of Nimitz Highway meet the H-1 freeway near Kilihau Street, was cut Wednesday night. Service wasn't fully restored until 8:45 a.m Thursday. Crews had to splice individual strands of fiber-optic cable to repair the break. Data traffic also was rerouted.

Hawaiian Telcom plans to work with police and state authorities to beef up security in an area frequented by the homeless where telecommunications cables have been damaged twice in the past 10 days.

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