The ten-percenters: The hot, hot men who pinch copper

For young and youngish men of a certain disposition (regarding copper), these are exciting times, as this medical report attests.

The report is: “Electrical burn injuries secondary to copper theft,” J.A. Dunne, D. J. Wilks, D.P. Mather, and J.M. Rawlins, European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery, epub 2015. The authors, at St George’s Hospital, London, Leeds General Infirmary, Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, and Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia, report:

We would like to highlight copper theft as an international cause for high voltage electrical injury, with an illustration of cases over a 5-year period from the Yorkshire regional burns unit in the United Kingdom (UK)….

Copper price has risen dramatically in recent years, with a six-fold increase over the past decade and a large demand from booming economies such as China. Metal theft is one of the fastest rising crimes in the UK…

The risk of burns in this activity is significant, and may account for up to 10% of electrical burns presenting to a regional unit…

All cases were males, aged 22, 25 and 42 years, sustaining burns of 32, 45 and 16.5 % total body surface area (TBSA), respectively. All patients survived, and there was a mean length of stay of 47 days (range 32–59) and all patients were involved in theft from 11,000 V electrical substations.

(Thanks to investigator Adrian Smith for bringing this to our attention.)

Here’s a video news report of a case of possible copper theft in a different country:

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