Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a criminal property damage case in connection with damage to a fiber optics cable network on Mauna Kea.

An employee with Mauna Kea Observatories Support Services reported the damage Thursday (October 15) after a lengthy investigation into the cause of a June 24 malfunction of a buried fiber optical line linking observatories on Mauna Kea to the University of Hawaii network.

Technicians reportedly determined that a fiber optics cable in a conduit located about halfway between Hale Pōhaku and the summit  had been tampered with and then pushed back into the conduit to avoid detection. Damages were estimated at $50,000. The damage occurred in a “hand hole” next to a service road about 700 feet from Mauna Kea Access Road.

Police ask anyone with information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Officer Jerome Duarte at 961-2211.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.