A man’s body was found hanging 20 feet in the air at the old State Hospital over the weekend in downtown Columbia. And investigators believe he was attempting to steal copper when he was electrocuted.
On Monday, the Richland County Coroner’s Office identified the man as Mr. Anthony Williams, 39, of South Martin Drive, in Columbia.
A North Carolina tourist who was taking photographs of the old State Hospital grounds off Bull Street found the man around 10 a.m. Sunday, Coroner Mr. Gary Watts said.
“The subject was found hanging by a harness strapped to the frame holding electrical transformers approximately 20 feet in the air,” Mr. Watts said. “It appears he was attempting to steal copper from the transformers.
“Although a lot of the property at this location has been abandoned the power lines and transformers are still live.”
The wire Mr. Williams had touched contained thousands of volts of electricity, Mr. Watts told The State newspaper.
Mr. Williams’ body was found dangling under several electrical transformers which contained copper, and the suspected thief had with him various tools he could have used to strip copper from wires, Mr. Watts said. The tools included pliers, vice grips and flashlights.
Because the incident happened on state property the State Law Enforcement Division is handling the investigation.
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