Genius Fries Himself Trying to Steal Copper Wire

That power outage in East Austin yesterday?

Yeah, some genius was trying to steal copper wire from an electrical substation and shocked himself so badly that he actually set himself on fire. They sent him to the renowned Brooke Army Medical Center burn unit in San Antonio. Things don’t look good for him. Darwin Award, anyone?

What’s up with this copper wiring craziness? My mother-in-law had an entire AC unit stolen from her house for the copper wiring. I realize that the price of copper has gone up, but geez.

10 Comments so far

  1. Peter (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

    that’s pretty offensive, man. you think dude is stealing copper because he’s evil? gd.

    it’s like, the crassness of metroblogging and the gothamist sites is just unbelievable. no sense of humanity at all. what’s wrong with y’all, seriously?

    what did they do you along the way that could make you think so cruelly and cynically about other human beings? the dude just experienced one of the most horrific accidents any of us could ever imagine, and you bust out with the Darwin awards nonsense? are you trying to impress someone? is this stuff in the official metblogs writing guidelines?

    if it’s not sfist making fun of rape and murder victims, it’s austin metroblogging having a go at a poor person who accidentally set himself on fire (which people who have experienced say is excruciatingly painful) – someone is who ‘in extremely critical condition’ – that is, he’s barely clinging to life, and if he survives, he’ll endure months of agony and then probably die early anways. our society allows people to be so poor that they’d actually go into an electrical box for the copper wiring, and then the best you can do is make fun of the dude?


  2. ttrentham (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

    I never speculated on why he might be trying to steal the copper wire, but my first guess isn’t because he’s "evil". You said that, not me.

    If I had to guess, I’d speculate as you do that it’s for money, but neither you nor I know the real reason why and probably never will. "Our society allows people to be so poor"? Please.

    Of course being electrocuted by enough voltage to cause your body to burn is a horrible way to be injured, which is why I’m speculating that the guy wasn’t too smart. Desperation or no, you’re not really helping yourself out of your desperate situation by getting yourself severely injured. Most people would go for the copper that wasn’t attached to an electrical current.

    It’s gallows humor and may not be for everyone. You’re entitled to your opinion, but save the tone of righteous indignation. If you’re so bothered by it, why do you read the sites at all?

    I didn’t even call out the absurdity of the quote from the woman in the article telling him to "drop and roll around" as if the chain of events that led to him being on fire or his state of mind at the time would allow him to think rationally about what to do once he was ablaze.

    And for future reference, there are no official Metroblogging guidelines. I’m responsible for my own words, which is as it should be.

  3. Mark Cathcart (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 5:10 pm

    Tim, I think your comments were fair. The problem is only going to worse though, the Chinese Copper Futures market is a similar state of woe to the US Sub-prime mortgage industry, they’ve been buying up all the futures, there have been deals gone bad, rogue traders etc. Copper is becoming an increasingly difficult/expensive commodity to come buy and will continue to be so.

    It’s not my specialist area, but since so much of tech needs copper, I’ve heard discussions around some of the potential problems over using copper. The price is high, and so people look at it as a way to make a fast buck.

    How long before some fool realises theres a buried oil pipeline that goes right through Austin and in some parts of South West Austin its almost certainly quite enough to slip in under cover of dark, drill a hole and siphon off oil without getting caught. Do us all a favour though, no smoking please while you do it.

  4. petro (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 7:19 pm

    Thank you Peter. My sentiments exactly. I am disgusted by you people.

  5. ttrentham (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 8:18 pm


    I’m not sure which "people" you’re talking about. I was the only one who wrote the post.

  6. libby (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

    fuck you man! he is a person like everyone else. what if that was your family. i know his family they are really good people. he had kids too. you know good people just do bad things sometimes. don’t talk about something you have no idea about.

  7. ttrentham (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

    You knew him? Why don’t you tell me more about him?

    I did manage to find his name, Eddie Castro. KVUE claims he was a drug addict.

    The Statesman article claims that a transformer costing hundreds of thousands of dollars may need to be replaced, so this act not only affects him and his family, but all of the people who were without power and the Austin Energy customers who will ultimately have to foot the bill for these thefts and the damage associated with them.

    The health care costs associated with such a severe injury will probably exceed the costs of the damage to the power substation. If he’s an addict and stealing, there’s a good chance that he’s unemployed, which means he probably didn’t have health insurance since our messed up system ties health coverage to employment.

    If he were in my family, I would be sad and wonder why he’d take such a crazy risk. If it was because of drug addiction, I’d wonder why he didn’t reach out to family and friends before resorting to something that could get him killed.

    Once again, I’m not commenting on whether he was a good or bad person. I’m commenting on his lack of judgment.

    Finally, I can talk about anything I’d like to talk about and so can you.

  8. rae (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 2:42 pm

    Whoa, what is with this country? Someone does something really bad, really selfish and harmful to himself, AND others (do others even matter these days, or only the criminal?), and someone makes the smallest, slightest "Darwin" remark, a super mild remark, and is totally attacked for it! An innocent person, who has NOT just incurred thousands of dollars of taxpayers and Austin’s and the homeowner’s money! I don’t get it.
    So, if a rapist contracts AIDS and from his victim, can’t afford preventative drugs or health care, and dies, we’ll have to shed crocodile tears. Please, people. We don’t want anyone to die, sure, but that doesn’t mean their stupid actions are not up for comment and blatant censure. His actions were much more wrong than was a simple offhand comment by our host, and the ignorant, helpless, desperate use of "f— you" does absolutely nothing to change that fact.
    If anyone should be getting any pity, it’s the perp’s kids, whose father not only is a criminal (really bad choice, Daddy), but now might die and leave them fatherless.

  9. Pat (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 3:14 pm

    Get the hankies…wqhere’s my fainting couch?

  10. ttrentham on March 4th, 2008 @ 2:30 pm

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