Alleged copper thief shocked by 7,000 volts in 'serious condition'

Published: Aug. 2, 2011 at 4:21 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2011 at 8:20 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The alleged copper thief who was transported to a hospital on Tuesday after getting shocked by 7,000 volts at a College Park substation is now listed in serious condition.

Officials with the Augusta Burn Center said Thursday that 25-year-old Phillip Tinskey was listed in 'serious condition.'  On Wednesday, officials had Tinskey listed in 'critical condition.'

According to company officials, someone broke into their substation just before 4 a.m. Tuesday and stole copper from the equipment.

Spokesman Micah Ponce said Tuesday that Tinskey first tried to cut copper off a utility pole and knocked power out to homes on that side of street. Then, Tinskey cut barbed wire on the back of the entrance to the substation and attempted to steal copper, failed to do so and fled.

Ponce also said Tinskey tried to steal about $1000 worth of copper and damaged a transformer. Ponce says the suspect caused substantial damage to the transformer and it will have to be replaced. Investigators with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office said Tinskey was shocked during the attempted robbery.

"No amount of money is worth risking your life, it is extremely dangerous inside the substations," Ponce said.

Investigators found a hammer, an ax, a rubber mallet, bolt cutters, and Tinskey's South Carolina ID inside a green duffle bag at the scene, the incident report states.

Moon also said that Tinskey was found at his mother's home.

Crews were able to restore the power before 5 a.m. The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office is investigating.

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