An Alton man has died of his injuries suffered while allegedly trying to steal copper wire from an Ameren substation onCut Streetabout two months ago. 30-year-old Dusty Austin had been atSt. John'sMercyMedicalCenterinCreve Coeur,Missourisince the June 12 incident that knocked his clothes off and left him bleeding and burned. He died Saturday.
He apparently tapped into a 34-thousand volt line at the substation. Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris says these thieves are risking their lives and the lives of innocent people to steal materials that contain copper.
He says while many people focus on voltage, it is actually the amperage that kills you. A typical household circuit of 120 volts carries 15 to 20 amps, which can kill you. An alleged accomplice, 31-year-old Shane Reese of the 100 block of East Acton inWoodRiverwas charged with criminal damage to property in connection with the incident. Those charges could be upgraded in the wake ofAustin's death.