Police: 2 thieves electrocuted by 24,000-volt transformer inside Detroit lighting facility

2 men found dead inside Public Lighting Department building on city's east side

DETROIT – Two people were found dead Friday inside a Detroit public lighting facility on the city's east side.

Officials said the discovery was made at the Detroit Public Lighting Department building on Raymond Avenue near Harper Avenue.

When the power at the facility went out around 4 a.m. Friday, an alert was sent to public lighting officials in Downtown Detroit. A technician went to the facility to see what went wrong, and he found a door had been pried open.

The technician found the badly burned bodies of two men inside the station. Police said the bodies were fused together after coming in contact with a 24,000-volt transformer.

"We have two, that we know, two black males," Detroit police Capt. Kyra Joy Hope said. "One of them apparently touched 24,000 volts, and then transferred over to the other one."

Police said the men weren't employees. It's believed that they broke into the facility with tools to steal materials from inside.

"It's very horrific," Hope said. "If I had to paint a picture or to say anything to anyone, this is not the way to go. It is my belief that, possibly, they were trying to steal copper, and it took for the worst, unfortunately."

DTE Energy released the following statement on the electrocution:

"The incident at the Public Lighting Department substation this morning is a sad and unfortunate event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals’ families and friends. We trust that local authorities and Public Lighting Department will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of this event. Please remember to maintain a safe distance from any electrical equipment."

Detroit police are investigating. 

About the Authors:

Shawn Ley

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.