A 50-year-old Newcastle man has been charged with allegedly unearthing over $110,000 of Telstra's copper cables from pits and manholes over a two month period.
Newcastle Police alleged the man posed as a telephone technician and then stole both old and active cabling, causing "major breaks in telecommunications for businesses and private residences".
Police alleged the total damage bill to repair and replace the stolen cables exceeded $110,000.
The copper wire was allegedly taken from the suburbs of Arcadia Vale, Belmont, Mayfield, Sandgate and Toronto, which were spread all over the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions.
"The Wangi Wangi area allegedly had approximately 400 premises affected during the theft of cabling at Arcadia Vale," Police said.
The man attended Raymond Terrace Police Station, north of Newcastle, yesterday morning where he was arrested and charged with eight counts each of larceny and destroy or damage property.
He was granted conditional bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday 11 January 2011.