EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 7, 2012

Vandals cut Internet cables to restaurant

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — A popular downtown eatery lost its ability to accept credit card payments and communicate online Wednesday after the cables that provide it with Internet service were cut by vandals.

Workers at The Tap Restaurant on Washington Street arrived Wednesday morning thinking it would be a normal work day but soon discovered they couldn’t get online and the credit card machine had no connection.

They said it made them realize how much they rely on the Internet each day.

“All we could do is let things go that we’d normally do, including media advertising, Facebook postings and Tweets about new beers or reminding people about Trivia night, which is every Wednesday night,” said Tap manager Sharon Cohen. “Customers looking book a function or ask a question sent us email we couldn’t’ read.”

Cohen said service was partly restored by Wednesday evening after Comcast repaired the cable that enters an adjacent building where the Shops@90Wash are located, and which connects to a router. She said a cable that runs between the router and the restaurant was also cut. She said it was repaired by an electrician and everything was back to normal by yesterday morning.

Marc Goodman, a spokesman for Comcast, said once his company was notified there was a problem at The Tap, Comcast worked to fix the problem as soon as possible. He said that any suspected incidents of vandalism should be reported to police.

Tap owner John Fahimian said his staff had to resort to asking customers to pay cash as opposed to using their charge cards.

“That’s no way way to run a business as many people charge these days,” Fahimian said.

Cohen said that after realizing the restaurants connections weren’t working a staff member went outside and discovered that the wires had been cut.

She had to do some quick thinking as to what she would tell her customers.

“We have an ATM that runs on a phone line, so when we sat people we told them we were unable to take charge cards and if they used the ATM we’d reimburse them for the fee,” she said.

Fahimian said nothing like this has happened to his business before.

“People should keep their eyes out for people with snippers in their hands cutting wires,” he said.

Cohen said The Shops@Wash, located at 90 Washington St. in the building next to the Tap, were affected as well, but only for a short time as the shop opened at 4 p.m. and service was restored by 5 p.m.

“Maybe we should have a camera outside the building,” Cohen said.