COUNCIL BLUFFS — A Council Bluffs man burned his hand, may need a partial amputation and will likely be arrested after an attempted theft Saturday afternoon.
Around 3:30 p.m., MidAmerican Energy crews responded to a downed power pole near 20001 225th St., northeast of Council Bluffs between the city and Underwood, according to Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker. Crews found the pole had been cut with a chain saw.
MidAmerican contacted the sheriff's office, which began an investigation that led to Jennie Edmundson Hospital. That's where a man in his 40s had recently been admitted with fourth-degree burns. Danker said the burns were electrical and that the suspect entered the hospital around the time deputies were dispatched to 225th Street.
Police believe the suspect and another man cut down the power pole in an attempt to access the transformer and likely harvest copper, Danker said. After the man burned himself, the accomplice drove to the hospital, dropped off his partner and fled.
Danker estimated damage to the power equipment at $10,000. About 200 people lost power as a result.
Medical personnel eventually transported the man from Jennie Edmundson to the burn unit at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, according to hospital staff, where he was in fair condition.
The suspect's wounds are severe enough that part of his hands could be amputated, Danker said.
The sheriff said he's confident an arrest will be made in the case as the investigation continues.