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A suspected copper thief died today while cutting into a live wire, leaving thousands in San Bernardino, Calif., without power, police said.
The man, who climbed a power pole and cut a live wire, was hit with 33,000 volts of electricity and died from electrocution, police said.
"It caused the subject to be thrown quite some distance. When initial responding officers and medical personnel arrived on scene, he was actively on fire," said Police Lt. Mike Madden.
More than 2,300 Edison customers in the central district of San Bernardino were without power for more than an hour.
"It does have very dire consequences and this happens … it's not just a matter of if this will happen, but when - if subjects continue to engage in this type of activity," Madden said.
"We have had prior incidents such as this. This was just a dramatic reminder of how dangerous this type of criminal activity is," Madden added.
ABC News Radio contributed to this report.