CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Suspected copper theft has caused another death.
A Logan County man suspected of trying to steal copper was found dead in the woods near Omar.
David James Marcum II, 28, of Omar was found electrocuted Saturday morning on a hilltop in the woods not far from his home.
Trooper J.E. Garren said Marcum's friends and family called the Logan detachment Friday evening to report him missing. They told the trooper they had not seen or heard from Marcum since Wednesday morning.
"We started hearing he was trying to cut down lines for copper," Garren said. "It was too dangerous to go up there that night.
"If he really was cutting down power lines we didn't want to take the chance that some of the lines were down."
In addition to the danger of downed lines, he said the area where they would search had a number of sinkholes and old coalmines. Residents in the area also have reported multiple bear sightings.
Garren said friends and family members formed search parties with the troopers Saturday and went into the woods.
"It didn't take us long," Garren said. "We found the power lines on the ground. He wasn't too far from them."
Marcum was pronounced dead at the scene. Garren said electrocution was the obvious cause of death.
The wooded area is between Omar and Sarah Ann. The trooper said the hilltop was about a 500 to 600 yard walk from the road.
Garren said Marcum's friends said he was known to steal copper. There was a small power outage in that area Wednesday morning, the trooper said, but service was restored shortly after.
Utilities have been battling copper theft for a number of years.
Copper theft became a serious problem in 2006 when the price of copper increased.
An Appalachian Power spokesman told the Daily Mail last week that since that time two or three people a year have died while trying to steal copper.
A Boone County man was electrocuted in April when he grabbed a 7,200-volt power line he thought was made with copper, but instead was Copperweld, a compound with a copper surface but with a core made from less expensive materials.
Appalachian Power spends about $1 million a year to replace stolen copper wire.
The investigation remains underway.
Garren was conducting interviews Sunday with associates of Marcum. Troopers received information that Marcum was not alone on the hilltop Wednesday.
Those involved could face charges of grand larceny, failure to render aid or even felony murder, he said.Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.