It's a crime that goes up when the economy goes down.
AT&T says thieves in Alabama have stolen more copper telephone cable than any other place in the country.
Copper's value is closing in on $3 a pound.
AT&T's major concern with thefts involving copper telephone cable is loss of service. Stolen cable can obviously affect your land-line telephone service, your Internet, and even your cell phone service if a cell phone site is hit up for copper.
This also turns into a public safety concern if people can't make emergency phone calls.
AT&T Regional Director Dave Hargrove saID there have been more than 200 separate instances in Alabama, and that's just since January.
He said there isn't just a problem with the crooks.
"There are people out there who accept this stolen copper, and it's very easy to detect copper that is stolen from typical scrap metal transactions. We have a problem, not only with the thieves, but the people who create a market for the stolen merchandise," said Hargrove.
Hargrove said there are some things you can do to stop the problem.
He said look for strange situations. Call the cops if you see someone out by your phone lines without a utility company uniform or a service vehicle.