By Jon Greiner

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Verizon is offering a thousand dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of a man thought to be responsible for the vandalism and theft from about 70 pay phones in Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg since August.

The man is accompanied by a woman who serves as a lookout and carries the stolen change in her purse.

Police say the man is brazen about the robberies, some of which have started as early as 6 p.m. in the downtown area. He’ll pretend to be on the phone while working a tool, probably a pry bar on the money vault. The phones are constructed of a very sturdy metal and it can take 45 minutes to an hour for the thief to get into the money box.

When that’s proven too difficult, he’s taken the entire phone assembly, stolen the coins and discarded the rest.

Verizon says damage is estimated at $30,000. There’s also a safety concern for someone who may have to rely on a pay phone in an emergency and it may not be there.

The thefts have taken place in several Pittsburgh neighborhoods, including downtown, the South Side, Homewood, Uptown, East Liberty and also in Wilkinsburg.

If you recognize the suspect, call Pittsburgh police.

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