Copper theft leads to power outage in south Wichita

A power outage in South Wichita on Thursday afternoon was indirectly caused by the theft of some copper from Westar Energy’s 59th Street South substation, a company spokesman said

“Whoever stole the copper could have been easily killed,” said the spokesman, Leonard Allen. “It was a relatively minor amount of copper — not worth someone’s life.”

Allen said a Westar employee noticed the theft Thursday morning, and workers were forced to shut down the substation for about an hour early Thursday afternoon to make repairs.

About 1,800 Westar customers — most of them in an area that runs from Broadway west to Seneca, and from 47th Street South to 63rd Street South — lost power during the outage.

Allen said an estimate the loss and damage was not immediately available.