Police: Massillon Man Latest To Be Killed in Copper Theft Attempt

MASSILLON, Ohio (AP) - A man was electrocuted while apparently trying to steal copper from a power substation, the latest Ohioan to die while trying to take the easy-to-recycle and increasingly valuable metal, police said.

Harold Taylor, 25, was zapped Tuesday by an estimated 23,000 volts of electricity - nearly 200 times the amount that runs running through an average home, police and fire officials said.

"He probably never knew what hit him," said Harry Campbell, chief investigator at the Stark County Coroner's office. "He was dead before he hit the ground."

Police believe Taylor forced his way into the gated, locked substation.

Taylor's girlfriend, Rachel Hollar, discovered the body near a wooden ladder, inside a former Republic Steel yard that is now owned by a private developer, police said.

Police have arrested others on the property for stealing scrap metal, but never inside the substation, Massillon police Sergeant J.J. DiLoreto said.

Thieves in Ohio and across the nation are increasingly turning to the highest-quality sources of copper, found at power substations, utility poles and electrical boxes, and then selling the wiring to scrap dealers.

Last month, a Hamilton man was electrocuted in Butler County while trying to take down a power line to remove and sell the copper.

Copper thefts have increased across the nation as the salvage price for the metal has quadrupled from 80 cents a pound in 2003 to around $3.24.