Wichita man died while trying to steal copper in Southeast Wichita

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WICHITA, Kansas — Wichita Police have seen an increase in the number of copper thefts in recent months.

But this case ended with a man electrocuted while trying to cut a 7,200 volt line.

“I meet a few people every now and then walking or riding a bike,” said Steve Wagoner, resident. “But other than that it’s real quiet.”

That quietness was interrupted Friday afternoon when investigators arrived on scene near Swan and Stafford responding to a call for a dead body.

Police say the body is that of  man in his mid twenties.

Someone was walking along the bike path when they looked over and spotted a dead body laying next to the utility pole.

“The deceased individual had taken his bicycle and leaned it up against the electrical pole, climbed the pole with their bolt cutters and attempted to cut the line and was unfortunately deceased,” said Lt. Dennis Wilson, Wichita Police Department.

Wichita Police believe the man may have been electrocuted sometime overnight.

“There were two lines that were hanging down and we didn’t know if they were hot lines are not,” said Lt. Wilson. “So they came out to make sure the determination to shut them.”

Westar Energy crews spent several hours fixing the damaged power lines making sure the power was safely shut off.

This isn’t the first time where crews had to deal with an incident like this.

“A month ago there was a scare at a substation from what we could tell we expected to find a body,” said Nick Bundy, spokesperson for Westar Energy. “This is really the incident that we’ve been worried about that was going to happen.”

But it did happen and that’s why the electric company has a message for potential criminals thinking about stealing copper.

“For a couple of bucks worth of copper,” said Bundy. “It’s just not worth risking your life.”

The identity of the man has not been released.

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