BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Authorities say a copper thief has been transported to a hospital in Georgia after getting shocked by 7,000 volts at a College Park substation, causing power outages for some 3,300 Berkeley Electric Cooperative customers Tuesday morning.
According to company officials, someone broke into their substation just before 4 a.m. Tuesday and stole copper from the equipment.
Spokesman Micah Ponce said Tuesday that the suspect first tried to cut copper off a utility pole and knocked power out to homes on that side of street. Then, the suspect cut barbed wire on the back of the entrance to the substation and attempted to steal copper, failed to do so and fled.
Ponce also said the suspect tried to steal about $1000 worth of copper and damaged a transformer. Ponce says the suspect caused substantial damage to the transformer and it will have to be replaced. Investigators with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office said the suspect was shocked during the attempted robbery.
"No amount of money is worth risking your life, it is extremely dangerous inside the substations," Ponce said.
According to Dan Moon of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, the suspect was taken to Trident Medical Center with serious injuries and then flown to a burn unit at an Augusta hospital.
Moon also said that the suspect was found at his mother's home.
Crews were able to restore the power before 5 a.m. The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office is investigating.