ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – A man was electrocuted Sunday night in Madison County while, police suspect, he was attempting to steal copper wire.

Three witnesses stated they were driving in Alton, Ill., when they saw the man screaming for help, badly burned and bleeding. Emergency medical personnel and police responded, and the man was transported to Alton Memorial Hospital before being airlifted to a St. Louis area hospital.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office says evidence suggests the man was trying to steal copper wire from an Ameren IP Substation. The case is still under investigation.

Copyright KMOX Radio

Comments (131)
  1. Spencer B in MD says:

    Serves the crook right! Nice legacy…

    1. Randy says:

      He should go for the low voltage wiring not the high voltage stuff!!! LOL What an idiot….

      1. Matthew says:

        Voltage has nothing to do with the danger. It’s all about the current. Really though, Karma at it’s best….

    2. SlitelyStoopid says:

      Electrocution is kind of an end-all. I think ‘Suspected Copper Thief Shocked In The Act’ is more fitting.

      You don’t hear about the little girl who drowned, then yelled for help.

      1. John B. says:

        I was going to say the same thing. Electrocution means death. It is fatal! I guess some folks don’t know that.

    3. BRDG says:

      Everybody who wants ” sumpin’ fer nutin’ ” deserves the same fate.

    4. RJ says:

      Darwin wins again

    5. Jim says:

      he mignt not have been shocked at all. a coil of wire near high power AC current can have a current induced into it. of unknown voltage… which may just get hot.. and not shock him.. a doctor would have to indentify the woulds as thermal or electric burns..
      It’t pretty clear, he did NOT contact the high votage lines…. his hands or arms would be completely fried off…and #2.. he’s alive…

  2. James Ferguson says:

    Maybe he just needed money to buy a loaf of bread. Let him tell Jesus why he was a thief.

    1. me says:

      You’re an idoit. There’s plenty of other legal ways to get a loaf of bread. Especially with Barry in office.

      1. steve says:

        idoit? Is that a French word?

      2. StandingO says:

        An “idoit”? Hello Pot, this is Kettle!

    2. Tim Munoz says:

      “let him tell Jesus why he was a thief”, now that my firend gets coolest quote of the year.

    3. Daniel Morgan says:

      Funny, I could understand stealing bread for a hungry family, but from what I read, most robberies involve stealing booze, jewelry, expensive vehicles and other non-necessities. But I am just a mean spirited old fart, what do I know?

    4. jim says:

      A good rule of thumb when stealing copper wire is to make sure electric current is not running through it. That’s why crimes of this nature should only be committed by trained professionals.

    5. Derek Elliot says:

      Loaf of Bread? Most likely this guy was stealing the copper for a few hits of crack.

  3. Barry says:

    Did he die? That’s the definition of “electrocuted”. After reading the story I got the impression that’s he’s still alive, so he wasn’t electrocuted.

    1. Bennett says:


      verb /iˈlektrəˌkyo͞ot/ 
      electrocuted, past participle; electrocuted, past tense; electrocutes, 3rd person singular present; electrocuting, present participle

      Injure or kill someone by electric shock
      – a man was electrocuted when he switched on the Christmas tree lights

      Execute (a convicted criminal) by means of the electric chair

      1. Luke Mason says:

        That definition is technically incorrect. Barry is correct

        Definition of ELECTROCUTE
        transitive verb
        : to execute (a criminal) by electricity
        : to kill by electric shock

      2. Bennett says:

        The definition I used came from Merriam-Webster.

      3. Lemo says:

        Electrocuted is like drowned. One is dead by definition.

      4. El Stevo says:

        No. That’s not the case.

        One can be electrocuted and not die.

      5. Steve says:

        Electrocution is a portmanteau word created by combining “Electric” and “Execute”. It was first coined when describing how people who were sent to the electric chair were killed. Its usage then spread to include accidental death by electricity as well as state-sanctioned. As English is an evolving language, it’s not unreasonable to assume its definition has further broadened to include non-fatal electric shocks.

    2. Glen D Christensen says:

      It’s a CBS story, much the same as AP.

  4. LarryG says:

    Chucklehead. Ethnicityy?

    1. JohnD says:

      lol @ ethnicity? he had to be black right?

      1. Luke Mason says:

        Most likely white with a red neck

      2. Jim M says:

        If he wan’t black before he touched the wire he is now.

      3. Ash Williams says:

        He was black after he got electrocuted.

  5. Kosh of Vorlon says:

    Alas, I was beginning to believe that KHARMA was actually real . . . then I read that the perp had survived his misadventure. So, he was NOT electrocuted!! Electrocution in FATAL!!!

    So, not only is there no kharma, there is no reporting without misleading hype either!

    1. Fluidizer says:

      And you find this surprising? Really?

  6. Kirk says:

    Electricity never sleeps, and you can never trick it. It pays attention even when people don’t. Don’t ya’ just love it!

  7. vintage1950 says:

    I always love a story with a happy ending.

  8. mephistofan says:

    Burn baby, burn. Oh what a warm feeling.

  9. Sisao Tresed says:

    I smell a law suit! Were there no multi-lingual warnings on those big buzzing transformers or where the signs unable to be read. ATTENTION PI Lawyers! They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Why not take a picture of the thief inside a big red circle with a red line through it, and paste it on every fence of teach power station.

    1. Stanley says:

      I smell searing flesh. It smells like sweet justice!

      1. Yoadrian Balboa says:

        It’s the self cleaning oven!

  10. mephistofan says:

    Nothing lower than a sneaky thief. No doubt he was a democrat seeking to re-distribute Some wealth in his favor. Ain’t social justice great? Cut off his weiner.

    1. Steve says:

      More likely a republican because he has a low IQ, and if you look at average IQ from the Bush/Kerry election, the states that went red had lower average IQs than those which went blue.

  11. rex dart eskimo spy says:

    I hope he uses Global Warming as a defense.

  12. us1marine says:

    what a shocking story

  13. Big Bear says:

    Darwin award!

  14. Htos1 says:

    Why are these people stealing?Barry’s in office and you’re fast-tracked!C’mon MAN!

    1. Fluidizer says:

      Thaz Rite! Barry gonna take care of all us! Soon! So dont be stealin’ no other man’s sh_t. Soon enu’f, that manz Sh_t gonna be UR Sh_t, and then waht yu gonna say? eh?

  15. George Johnson says:

    Somebody please send a case of BBQ sauce to the funeral in my name…..

  16. Tom says:

    Probably got tingly all over the place like Bill Mahr could only dream of.

  17. Brian says:

    I hate to come off as a “nit–picker”, but the term “electrocution” implies DEATH by application of electricity. From reading the article, it sounds like the perpetrator it very much alive. This man was “shocked” (but I suppose that doesn’t make for sensational headlines).

  18. Early Ardmore says:

    “Wow, I just felt the world get lighter. We lost a moron! I don’t mean to sound cold, or cruel, or vicious, but I am, so that’s the way it comes out. Professional help is being sought.” ~ Bill Hicks


  19. Flashman says:

    Stealing copper wire from an IP Substation…I assume that’s an electrical relay station. Umm, copper is an ideal conductor of electricity.

    Well, it’s one way to cull the herd of its idiots. I guess the poor slob never took basic science in school.

  20. Durfus McGrew says:

    Smoke ’em, Dano!

  21. SparklePlenty says:

    He should be grounded!

    Oh, wait. He WAS!

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Ooops! Did it again!

  22. AlanOnPalawan says:

    Either he or his surviving family will probably sue & collect millions from our corrupt legal system

    1. oracle2world says:

      Hey, if the substation wasn’t properly signed and fortified against determined islamic terrorists, winning the lawsuit is a slam dunk.

      Even a stupid lawyer can win this one.

      1. AlanOnPalawan says:

        Such a lawsuit wouldn’t have a chance in Hades if we had a Justice System instead of a Legal System

  23. oracle2world says:

    Electrified wire is just inherently difficult to steal. Like gasoline. Stick to copper plumbing.

  24. Cleary says:

    If he truly was a copper thief, then all I have to say is Karma’s a b*tch.

  25. zap says:

    Do journalists go to school anymore? Electrocuted vs Shocked……

  26. Mark says:

    Once he is released from the hospital, I hope they give him the chair.

  27. Pinion says:

    Let the punishment suit the crime. Duh, such an idiot. Good thing he wasn’t a politician, they’d close down the government.

  28. mudshark says:

    I was shocked at this news. This fellow conducted himself in a terrible manner. They really need to amp up police surveillance.

    1. walljasper says:

      This was a electrifying news story indeed. One can only hope it will jolt would-be thieves into re-thinking their current crime sprees.

      1. mudshark says:

        What do you think the frequency of these crimes may be?

      2. walljasper says:

        I guess the police don;t have to get amped up in response to this incident. The electorcution discharged them from any further action.

        THere seems to be a steady undercurrent of such thievery, so I do get a slight charge out of this story. This should spark some interesting and perhaps a surge of re-awareness in safety.

  29. Clark Nova says:

    Reminds me of the idiot graffiti vandal from my state who tries to ‘tag’ a live 48,000 volt transformer. They had to haul him away in bags labelled #1, #2 and #3. The grease slick is still there.

  30. mudshark says:

    Watt was he thinking!?!

  31. GroundedWellDone says:

    Let me see, was it the green one or the black…Bzzzt

  32. walljasper says:

    ‘N3ed a bunch of that copper wire strung up and down our borders.

  33. walljasper says:

    Also need to check for typos before clicking on Submit Comment.

  34. Court Kizer says:

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Why would anyone believe he was a criminal just because the police told you so?

    For all we know he was a homeless guy looking safe place to sleep, and got zapped.

  35. What goes around... says:

    Bet he won’t do that again.

    1. Joe Blow says:

      It would be shocking if he did, but let’s switch subjects

  36. Pedro Gomez says:

    Facts about the fataly injured IDIOT

    #1 He was black
    #2 He was a democrat
    #3 He was on welfare
    #4 He was from a one parent home
    #5 He voted for Obama
    #6 I’m glad he is dead!

    The profile of a Democrat Voter,.. LOOSERS!

    1. Rich Pope says:

      Wow! WoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooW!

    2. S.I. Hiyakawa says:

      It’s “losers” idiot

    3. toadrian balboa says:


    4. JimRocky says:

      You left out : He has six kids he doesn’t support.

  37. Jerzey Boy says:

    Maybe he was just trying to keep up with Current Events?

    1. walljasper says:

      Or trying to charge his stolen iPod..

    2. walljasper says:

      Another crook, tazed by a Copper.

  38. dcktz says:

    Maybe he was trying to steal electricity.

  39. rick larkin says:

    The electric company should install a safty turn off switch that turns off everyone’s electricity as soon as a thief or a homeless person should for any reason enters into a locked fenced in high voltage area.

    1. JimRocky says:

      Yeah then when the Fire Station or Hospital loses power they would know that some bum is safely stealing the non energized wire.

  40. lexterrae says:

    Darwinian justice!

    It’s a shame that it’s the only sort we see much of these days.

  41. Rich Pope says:

    Good! He deserved it.

  42. tubaman says:

    there is justice in the world!!!!!!

  43. Doug says:

    “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword”, has more than one meaning.

  44. Jim M says:

    I fund these posts shocking!

  45. joeyj says:

    I doubt the perp was black because stealing wire involves work and the use of tools.

  46. Rbgreenwood says:

    British usage – injured or killed
    American usage – almost always means killed, but occaisionally british usage is applied

    1. fiteboss says:

      This isn’t Britain, Sparky.

  47. Steve says:

    Stealing copper and aluminum and even iron has become a terrible problem and this is just one example. There is no telling how much damage he did to the electrical system, besides personal injury to himself. I don’t have much sympathy for the thief, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. I know of an instance in which a church had about a hundred thousand dollars worth of damage from thieves stealing the air conditioner coils from off the roof, which took a highly organized operation, turning off the power, and the security system, and getting on the roof, and hauling the parts down on ladders and away in trucks.
    Even railroad tracks are being stolen causing train derailment.
    The whole industry needs to be regulated to eliminate “fencing” operations.
    Usually such thieves are drug motivated, and probably the only solution likely to succeed in ending this crime wave is ending prohibition of drugs.
    If people want to take drugs and destroy themselves, I say let them do it, just don’t let them destroy everyone else with associated crime.

  48. Izzy812 says:

    I have to say this was the best news article I have read today. No three year waits to go to trial, no plea bargains….very courteous of him to punish himself for all of us taxpayers.

  49. Speedstan says:

    So what was he charged with, other than a few thousand volts?

  50. slobo says:

    This happened to a copper thief in Germany who was only found after a jogger smelled somthing like burnt bacon eminating from a sub-station. Investigators found the thief had been acting as a human shunt for more than three days, and was so badly burnt and disfigured only an autopsy could determine “it’s” sex. BACON~BACON~BACON! Yummmmmmmm !

  51. cactus02 says:

    Nomimate him for the Darwin Awards. ( those who eliminate themselves from the gene pool.)

  52. Tom says:

    Technically electrocuted seems to mean he died. But the word still gets used when the person lives, for lack of a better word. Shocked? Electrofried? Up until a few years ago the newspaper articles didn’t even bother to say the person died. Which was somewhat annoying. And maybe they still don’t bother to say anything unless the person survives.

  53. slobo says:

    not so…one can be electrocuted and not killed…

  54. John C says:

    Serves him right. Too bad he wasn”t killed.

  55. slobo says:

    The saddest part of the story is now the bill from the burn unit will be passed down to the county tax payers…

  56. joe F says:

    Come on, he was just trying to cop some copper to make some copper clackers.

  57. stu says:

    If we play our cards right this could be a great way to cut down on the thugs who terrorize society. Make it enticing, and easy, to touch them wires, I say.

  58. Hedge66 says:

    Mother Nature at work culling the herd.

  59. tinkan says:

    Hey buddy, did you just see a really bright light???

  60. Ninetoes says:

    Now we reward him with free health care and disability. Thanks B.O.

  61. Charles Nickolopoulos says:

    There is not anything really funny about this article. It is just tragic.
    The police must have had a reason to believe he was trying to steal the wire, (tools, wire cutters, etc.) anyway, there is nothing funny about it.
    Really high voltage can arc, and he may have been using some kind of tools that were insulated, but when you are dealing with really high voltage you leave it alone.

    1. water00boy says:

      where’s my violin?

  62. Alex says:

    Dear editor,

    The definition of “electrocuted” is “death due to electrical injury”. Anyone who has been electrocuted is therefore dead.



  63. JulianusRex says:


  64. Fuzzlenutter says:

    And in our ridiculously up-is-down, right-is-wrong society a judge will allow his family to sue the Ameren IP Substation, the city and all its employees, the copper mine and manufacturer, the installers and everyone else who directly or indirectly had anything to do with the copper wiring. And they’ll win a major financial jackpot.

    Mark my words…

  65. G says:

    Sometimes you get what you deserve.

  66. Bob O says:

    Another one taken out of the gean pool

  67. Robin says:

    Does he have curly hair?

  68. Copper capper clepto says:

    Safety First! Lock out tag out, come on

  69. Buster says:

    We recommend you leave the electricity on when your rental unit is between vacancies. It’s the only way we know how to save the wiring in your house from these crack heads.

  70. PB Sterling says:

    Electrical Safety: a self correcting problem.

  71. Scudbuster says:

    Future Darwin winner!

  72. danpa says:

    we had a similar situation here in S. Carolina the other day… two idiots thought they were cutting a water line. however, it was a gas line, and they set themselves on fire… GOOD GOOD GOOD…. couldn’t happen to more deserving people…

  73. StanIam says:

    The only folks doing such in WA state are CRACK heads. About time one got burnt.

  74. Primetime Editorials says:

    he is a dumb theif
    didnt mama tell u not get electrocuted
    he is lucky to be alive
    i bet he looks like a piece of churches chicken after that incident
    fried crispy and extra dark

  75. tiffany says:

    To all the ones who said it was a black person…did you see the white trash mugshot????

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