A Westar Energy employee checking on a power outage early Saturday discovered that someone had stolen copper wiring and grounding straps and caused about $150,000 in damage to a substation at 2360 S. Rock Road, according to Wichita police.
The employee also found a pile of copper wiring that had been left behind.
It’s likely the thief was injured from an arc caused by the removal of grounding cables and straps on the transformer, said police Sgt. Scott Brunow.
The person could have been left blind or deaf and been severely burned, Brunow said.
Police notified area hospitals to be on the alert for a person seeking treatment from those kinds of injuries.
Other personal items left at the scene may also provide a link to the person responsible for the theft, Brunow said.