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Texas man electrocuted in power station break-in

An autopsy showed that a man found dead at an electrical substation in Texas was electrocuted, apparently as he tried to steal copper from the facility, the sheriff’s office in Montgomery County, Texas, said Thursday.

Harold Gene Schneider, 37, was discovered by workers at the facility owned by CenterPoint Energy Inc. late Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle reported.

"Investigators will follow up leads," said sheriff's Lt. Dan Norris. "They believe someone else could have been there."


Detectives believe Schneider, from nearby Houston, was trying to steal the metal based on the tools found near his body, KTRK-TV reported. He apparently gained access to the facility by cutting through a wire fence.

Detective John Schmitt earlier told the station that a second person is believed to have been involved because some copper was missing.

Across the country, the theft of copper, which is sold for cash to salvage operations, is a "constant problem, a consistent problem," said Norris.

"If it’s not tied down and sometimes even if it is, it’s stolen,” he said. "Brass pots out of cemeteries, (copper from) vacant homes, even homes that are occupied, mobile homes, air conditioners. You name it — if there’s metal, its subject to being stolen."

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