HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) – A 34-year-old St. Paul man was sentenced to 13 months in prison in Dakota County Court on Thursday in connection with an incident where he tried to steal copper wire from a power sub-station and ended up causing a large power outage.
David John Stachowiak will ultimately have to spend about 50 days in jail as his sentence was stayed for five years.
Stachowiak and two others were charged on June 28 with criminal damage to property in connection with a Dec. 23, 2009 incident at the Dakota Electric Power Sub Station in Eagan.
According to a criminal complaint, police were called to that station at about 12:37 a.m. that morning on a report of a man on fire at the station. When authorities arrived, they discovered a man later identified as Stachowiak who had been shocked and had sustained severe burns to his body.
About the same time as Stachowiak was shocked, authorities said about 6,500 homes near the area of the station had a power outage. Police conducted a preliminary investigation which revealed that Stachowiak and the two others were at the station attempting to steal copper wire. Stachowiak apparently broke into the locked station, cut barbed wire at the top of a secured chain-link fence and was injured when connecting with a 69,000-volt transmission line.
The station where the incident occurred serves power to residents in western and south western Eagan.