Man electrocuted while trying to steal copper wire, police say

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An Oklahoma man was electrocuted while trying to steal copper wire, KFOR reports.

It happened early Thursday morning in Oklahoma City.

"The price of copper drives them to go out and steal it and then try to take it to a recycler to make money off of it," said MSgt. Gary Knight, with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

City officials said copper wire, often stolen from street lights, is expensive to replace.

Thursday morning's case proved why it's never a good idea.

"When officers arrived, they did find a person out there, and it appears this person had been trying to steal ground wire from one of the light poles out there," Knight said.

The man had been electrocuted.

"Obviously, those are live wires and this person ended up apparently grabbing a hold of those or, at some point, coming in contact with them, causing his death," Knight said.

It was a tragic end to something an Oklahoma Gas & Electric official said happens too often.

"This particular pedestal box, the circuit this person touched was about 480 volts, which is a lot," said Kathleen O'Shea, a spokesperson for OG&E.

O'Shea said stealing copper wire is an extremely dangerous way to try to make a few extra bucks.

"Really, you have to be careful around a lot of voltages," she said. "With our equipment, I mean, it's not like the kind of voltage you have in your house, no, this is lethal."

That's why OG&E officials and police said anyone thinking of stealing copper wire should think twice before making the extremely dangerous decision.

No information about the deceased suspect has been released.