Cable equipment stolen from Rockdale neighborhoods

CONYERS -- More than a dozen cable TV signal amplifiers were stolen from neighborhoods across south Rockdale County Monday morning.

Deyanna Jones, director of Government and Community Affairs for Comcast, said company officials believe the amplifiers are stolen to sell on the black market to cable TV systems in developing countries, particularly in South America.

The signal amplifiers are typically housed in metal boxes that are positioned along streets throughout neighborhoods. Jones said the signal amplifiers do just that -- amplify the TV signal that is received from satellites so that it can travel throughout the cable system.

The amplifiers don't involve new technology but are standard equipment for cable systems, Jones said.

"In a country where they have basically nothing, they need everything," she said.

The signal amplifiers stolen in Rockdale County Monday morning -- 14 in all -- were taken at a time of day when Comcast typically sees this kind of theft, Jones said. The equipment is usually taken in the early morning hours, Jones said, when cable customers are less likely to be watching TV and report an outage.

Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Investigator Michael Camp said the thefts were reported Monday between midnight and 5 a.m. The thieves apparently cut a swath across south Rockdale from the Smyrna Road area to Ga. Highway 20 South. The following cable amplifier thefts were reported:

-- Two on Marie Hill Drive

-- Two on Harvest Drive

-- One on Vineyard Drive

-- Three on Jimson Circle

-- Two on Christopher Drive

-- One on Moss Valley Drive

-- One on Santa Anna Court

-- One on Mission Ridge

-- One on Brentwood Crossing

Camp said this isn't the first time the RCSO has seen cable amplifier thefts, but this is probably the most they've had at one time. "Usually it's just one or two, and they are months apart," he said.

Camp said the amplifiers were valued at an estimated $1,500 each.