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Jeannette Officials Investigate Thefts Of Antiquated Emergency Call Boxes

JEANNETTE (KDKA) -- Drive around the city of Jeannette and you'll see them all over the place.

They're the old emergency call boxes used to notify first responders to problems. But, the problem is, the boxes are starting to disappear and city officials want to know who's taking them.

They've been around a very long time.

"These boxes have been in place since the early 1900s," says Chief Joe Matijevic, of the Jeannette Fire Department.

Despite their age, they're still important for first responders in Jeannette.

"Someone forgets to bring their phone, they can use a call box and we get that call in seconds," Chief Matijevic says. "They work and they're lifesavers."

But recently, someone's taken to trying to steal these emergency call boxes. Cut and capped wires show where they've literally been ripped off the pole.

But why would anybody want to swipe an 80-pound, decades-old call box?

"It's a possibility they're aware they're antiques and they're worth some money," said Chief Matijevic. "Also, there are inside mechanisms that are bronze that could be scrapped."

The only clue investigators have is a grainy video of two people trying to pull the box off a pole on Agnew Road.

The image is too grainy to see the faces, but they have an idea what kind of car the thieves are in.

"It could be a white or yellow Subaru or Hyundai hatchback," Chief Matijevic said.

However, those in the three cars that passed the duo had a clear view of the attempted theft.

Meanwhile, officials say the boxes aren't cheap to replace.

"Anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 to replace a new call box," Chief Matijevic said.

For now, officials are asking folks to keep a lookout on the call boxes and contact them if they know who's literally trying to steal a part of Jeannette's safety and security.

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