updated 7/16/2007 2:53:55 PM ET 2007-07-16T18:53:55

A man trying to take down a power line to steal and sell the copper inside was electrocuted Monday, the Butler County sheriff's office said.

Deputies found Brandon Reed, 22, of Hamilton, tangled in lines about 3 a.m., Lt. Marian Olivas said. Utility crews recovered the body, Olivas said.

Another man, Josh Snyder, 24, also of Hamilton, told investigators that he left Reed about 20 miles north of Cincinnati and was supposed to pick him up after Reed had cut down the wire, Olivas said.

As Snyder was leaving, he said, he heard an explosion and a scream and called 911. Snyder was charged with complicity to attempted theft and was being held in the Butler County jail, Olivas said.

Copper thefts have increased across the nation as the salvage price for the metal has more than quadrupled from 80 cents a pound in 2003 to around $3.60. Thieves typically target electric cable, pipes, gutters and salvage yards.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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