Vandals leave 1,200 Yelm families without phone service

YELM, Wash. -- Hundreds of families were without phone service Saturday when vandals broke in and destroyed a cable communication service building in Yelm.

The burglary left Fair Point Communications with $70,000 in repairs and residents of the gated Clearwood Community without a life line.

Stacy Beggerly and her family are one of 1,200 families that started their weekend with no dial tone.

"Saturday morning we woke up and had nothing, no internet and no phone," said Beggerly.

Residents had no way to call for help because the gated Clearwood Community just east of downtown Yelm has no cell service -- the trade off for living in such a wooded wonderland -- and neighbors who have resisted a cell tower.

"If there is an emergency, you are stuck," Beggerly said.

Beggerly said vandals turned an inconvenience into a real scare. They tagged the outside of a Fair Point building in two places, but inside they smashed all the electronics, knocking out phone and internet service and causing $70,000 in damages and repairs.

Beggerly and her neighbors assumed the outage was weather related until told otherwise on Monday.

"It's infuriating, it's awful," she said of the vandalism.

And for her kids, no internet was no fun.

"Very mad because I couldn't get on my favorite game," said Beggerly's daughter Abby.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office is investigating, but officials say they had no reports of residents who were left with an emergency and no way to call for help.

Residents say the phone service was back up later on Saturday, but some families told us their cable and internet remains spotty while repairs are under way.

The Sheriff's Office says those repairs could take up to three days.