Cable line mystery
June 15, 2009 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Someone's been disconnecting/cutting the internet cable wire that runs into my apartment. Why would they do this and what can I/should I do about it?

About a month ago, my internet stopped working. I called my cable company and they sent a technician over. We both went up to my roof (which is always open) and saw that someone had disconnected my cable line. He didn't know why and couldn't find a reason so he added a splitter to one of them and reconnected mine.

Last week, the internet was dead again. I suspected someone had disconnected it again so I took my time going up to the roof to check it out. I went yesterday with a friend and found that the line had been cut cleanly in several places. What's going on and what do I do now? Who's responsibility is this - the cable company for having an unsecured line system or my building management for not having better security?

Some other facts:

- The lines were a huge mess up there, tangled every which way and totally unsecured. The cable guy said one day they will have to send someone to reconnect the whole thing.

- I live on the top floor of my apartment building. The cable line runs down the side of my building from the roof into my apartment through a hole near the window. This is obviously seen.

- My building is managed by a company; the actual landlord lives somewhere on the east coast. My super lives a few blocks away and is probably my only contact regarding the building.

- The door to my apartment building is often left open. I have lived here for about a year now - my neighborhood is very safe and I have never thought much about complaining. It's a small building - 9 apartments- so it seems like everyone trusts each other.

- I have been connecting on stolen wireless for the time being. My wildest idea is that someone wants me to use their stolen wireless so that they can steal my identity? Sounds too far-fetched.

What do you guys think, hive mind?
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Who knows, it could be a lot of things. I doubt its malice, just everyday incompetence. Perhaps a cable installer or dish tv installer too lazy to untangle your messy wires, so he cut it to get at it.

Perhaps its someone trying to be clever and steal cable. Id tell the building management about this.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:09 PM on June 15, 2009

Maybe someone in the building has a spouse or child who spends too much time on the internet, and they decided to go up and cut the line but didn't know which line to cut?
posted by amyms at 12:12 PM on June 15, 2009

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Did one of your neighbors get a dish installed? New tenant get cable hooked up? Tenant get his service suspended?

There are plenty of reasonable explanations that trace back to an installer not knowing what he is doing. A building is rarely going to get the same installer twice and some really have no clue about how to splice or even simply patch into the current wiring. Some just don't care who they cut off as long as they get the current work order done.
posted by Loto at 12:15 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Someone else in your building could be taking your line to steal cable TV service.
posted by zsazsa at 12:32 PM on June 15, 2009

I had some cable work done at a 6-unit apartment once, and escorted the tech back to the building's junction box. He looked at his records, noticed that there were hookups to every apartment but only 1 person besides myself was paying, and cut every connection.

"If they're actually paying for cable, they'll call and complain."

Nice guy.
posted by hwyengr at 12:35 PM on June 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

i once moved into an apartment, and the landlord told me that one 'bonus' was free cable. when i called the cable company to get internet, they sent a tech out, who then promptly disconnected the whole building, except for me.
posted by lester at 12:39 PM on June 15, 2009

Do you have any enemies, even minor? Have you been arguing with a neighbor about loud music or something? Cut cable more than once could be kids vandalizing. Cut cable only to your apartment more than once seems like someone trying to purposefully annoy you. You could set up a spy cam perhaps.
posted by caddis at 12:42 PM on June 15, 2009

I can second hwyengr's story. A friend had his internet go down. They sent out a guy who checked the junction box. It had been disconnected. SO he reconnected it. Something about work orders no getting filed, etc. Cut to the future. This happened several times. Eventually they made a note that stuck.

They don't actually cut these lines though, so I am putting it in the camp of someone being an ass.

I'd call the cable company and then consider putting one of those motion activated wildlife cameras on the roof, get a shot of the person doing it.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:45 PM on June 15, 2009

I have personally had the following experiences with Comcast cable:

1) some other person in my apartment was stealing cable, and inadvertently cut mine off in hooking up his/her illegal connection. When this was noticed, Comcast came out and reconnected me and cut off everyone else in the building. Charming.

2) once, shortly after moving in to a new place, the disconnect order from the previous tenant's cable account was processed the day after my cable was connected. Left hand, meet right hand.

It could also be somebody randomly or intentionally being an ass.
posted by ambrosia at 12:50 PM on June 15, 2009

Are there multiple cable/internet providers supplying and visiting the building? Several years ago, when the building I lived in had both comcast and some other cable provider(don't recall the name, now defunct) it just so happened that whenever one company would come by and work on the lines, the other company's boxes would mysteriously stop working. So then the other company would come out and fix theirs, and fuck up the competition's and so on. This was annoying. I would doubt that it's vandalism or the work of shadowy enemies...more like grouchy cable guys.
Also, the same thing went for the phonelines. My phone line was once cut, from inside a relay box that was only accessible by the landlord/phone tech. AT&T guy didn't even blink and said it was from when the rival phone guy had been there.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 12:55 PM on June 15, 2009

But having it happen twice, and the second time more thoroughly screwing you over, suggests to me malice rather than stupidity.

My first question would be, who have you pissed off on the Internet, and do they know where you live?
posted by Meatbomb at 1:15 PM on June 15, 2009

Comcast has done this to me a couple times in the past before. One tech comes out to work on someone else's line, thinks my line should be disconnected, so he cuts it (physically cuts the wire, so I cannot easily reconnect it). I call, comcast wont admit to causing the problem, sends out another tech to come reconnect it. It happened to me twice (or was it three times? it was a while ago) at my old apartment, and once at the house where I now live, so there's definitely a pattern of incompetence here.
posted by davr at 2:26 PM on June 15, 2009

A previous tenant in our house got a satellite dish installed, and the installers cut the cable line into the house and under the house in several places and the cable line from the house to an external antenna. I guess they didn't want it to be easy for future tenants to switch away from the dish. It took several visits for Time-Warner to figure this out to connect our internet. The guy said something like, "Man, they really didn't want you to get cable."

So, maybe check if any of your neighbors have one of the satellite services that's been visiting lately?
posted by hydropsyche at 4:03 PM on June 15, 2009

1. Prod the super to lock the door to the roof as well as the front door to your building.
2. Install secret camera on roof.
3. Move.
posted by exphysicist345 at 8:44 PM on June 15, 2009

I don't have an answer for you, just a story. Years ago, someone cut our cable. It was in the back yard of a house we were renting, so we know they weren't trying to cut someone else's. They then buried both ends in the yard. The cable company swore they had nothing to do with it, reconnected the cable, and from that point on we got all the movie channels for free. We never watched them after the first week, though.
posted by zinfandel at 8:47 PM on June 15, 2009

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