READING, Pa. -

Verizon is willing to pay big bucks for what someone knows about vandalism done twice to its telephone cables in Reading.

Verizon is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the vandals who damaged the company's copper telephone cables under the Bingaman Street Bridge.

The vandalism on Sept. 16 and Sept. 25 put public safety at risk for hundreds of customers in Reading and caused unnecessary telephone service outages, some for several days, officials said.

"When these cables are damaged, customers lose phone service, and many times they lose their lifeline because if there's an emergency, they can't reach 911," said Lee Gierczynski, media relations manager for Verizon.

Verizon said it is working closely with state and local law enforcement authorities to find and prosecute those responsible.

"It's been a real inconvenience, especially with a lot of my neighbors who are older. They have just land lines," said Maggie Curry, who lives on Hazel Street and lost Internet service.

The two incidents have been called similar in nature, with the same cable cut, but on opposite sides of the bridge.

Verizon said the vandals have cost thousands of dollars in damage, and they've called the incidents incomprehensible.

"Putting people's lives in danger is something we will not tolerate, and that's why we are offering this type of reward," said Gierczynski.

Verizon said it is working closely with state and local law enforcement authorities to find and prosecute those responsible, and they're monitoring the cables closely in the area to prevent this from happening a third time.

The company urges anyone with information about the crimes to contact Verizon Security at 1-800-997-3287, or local law enforcement authorities.