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Man electrecuted in alleged wire theft

Posted: August 20, 2010 4:14 p.m.
Updated: August 21, 2010 4:14 p.m.
 

A Tujunga man, whose name has not been released, is in serious condition today after electrocuting himself, in an alleged attempt to steal copper wire from Southern California Edison power poles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said today.

A Santa Clarita Deputy patrolling near Newhall Avenue and the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway just after 6:30 a.m. spotted two men, one of whom appeared to be injured.

The deputy contacted the men and determined that one of them was in serious condition. The Los Angels County Fire Department was called in and began treating the man for his injuries.

The injured man was transported to a local area hospital for treatment.

As the deputy continued his investigation he determined that the second man, Robert Yost, also a Tujunga resident had a 35,000 felony warrant for being under the influence of drugs.

Yost was arrested and booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station on the warrant.

The investigation continued throughout the morning, during which time Southern California Edison reported that one of its power lines, approximately a half mile up a dirt road from Newhall Avenue and the 14 Freeway, had lost power at 5:57 a.m. this morning.

A check of the area revealed signs that an electrocution had occurred. Through the preliminary investigation, deputies have determined that the injured man climbed 30 to 35 feet up one of the power poles and then hoisted up a cordless saw using string.

Deputies believe the man reached out and attempted to cut one of the copper wires in an effort to steal it. The saw apparently arched with the live electrical line, sending more than 125,000 volts into the suspect, electrocuting him and causing him to fall from the power pole.

The suspect sustained substantial injuries from the electrocution and fall, but managed to walk with Yost down the dirt road. A short time later the deputy spotted the two.

Deputies recovered the saw and the string at the area of the attempted crime.

The injured man sustained a severe head injury and heart problems as a result of the incident. He is currently in surgery.

If he survives he will likely face felony charges of attempted grand theft.

Yost will also be charged with attempted grand theft, but may face more serious charges if the injured man does not survive, the Sheriff's Department said.

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