Coroner: Electrocuted copper thief found dangling from transformer

Anthony Williams (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
Anthony Williams (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A tourist from North Carolina taking photos of the old Department of Mental Health State Hospital grounds discovered a man who had been electrocuted while trying to steal copper, according to authorities.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said the discovery happened Sunday morning on the grounds of the old State Hospital property off of Bull Street in downtown Columbia.

Anthony Williams, 39, of Columbia was found hanging by a harness strapped to a frame holding electrical transformers approximately 20 feet in the air. It appears he was attempting to steal copper from the transformers, the coroner said.

Williams' body may have been there for a couple of days, according to Watts.

The coroner said a lot of the property at the location has been abandoned, but the power lines and transformers are still live.

Because the incident happened on state property, SLED is handling the criminal investigation.

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