Crime & Justice

Suspected copper thief dies after break-in at vacant Anaheim hotel

Police caution tape
Police caution tape
Photograh by Perfect Pose via Flickr Creative Commons

One of two suspected copper thieves who suffered serious burns while tampering with wiring at a vacant Anaheim hotel died Saturday at an area hospital, according to police. 

Officers responded to the scene around 9 p.m. Friday after reports of an explosion. 

"When the officers arrived, two males were behind the fence suffering from significant burn injuries. They were in close proximity to an electrical panel," said Anaheim police Sgt. Bob
Dunn. "After a brief conversation with one of the two ... he indicated that they were stealing copper." 

The two men were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of electrical shocks. One suspect died about noon Saturday at an area hospital. His name will be released pending notification of next of kin.

The vacant hotel at 444 W. Katella Ave. had been closed for several months and there is a "fence around the entire building to keep out trespassers," said Dunn. 

Due to the tampering,  there were outages at four nearby hotels but power was restored before 1 a.m.