In Cowpens, SC, one copper thief paid the ultimate price at a Duke Energy substation trying to steal copper, according to WYFF4.com. He caused a fire and explosion that knocked out power to half the population of the town.
CNS News reports that a man trying to steal copper from an elementary school in Albuquerque, NM apparently got a 480-volt shock. Police found a scorched T-shirt and assorted tools, and are now checking emergency rooms for burn victims.
Another copper thief paid for his attempt with his life earlier this month at an electrical substation in Whitley, KY [source: ECT.coop].
A Snopes.com message board has some disturbing photos of what can happen when you touch a live wire at an electrical substation. This incident may have happened in southern California in 2009.