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    Man breaks into Ameren substation, leaving 2,500 without power

    By Megan MuellerMallory Thomas,


    ST. LOUIS – An Iron County man is facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly broke into an Ameren substation on Chippewa Street in St. Louis.

    Police found Marion L. Keenan in a van near the substation with 35 feet of copper wiring.

    “Our substations are fenced along with our infrastructure being a certain amount of distance off the ground for continued public safety. We do not want anybody inside one of our substations,” Ben Lynch, director of distribution operations, said.

    Police say the signs reading high voltage and danger didn’t stop Keenan from breaking in. Fencing along the property had been cut and there was extensive damage to the lines that deliver electricity to neighbors.

    “I assume that when they hit the substation that it affected transmission lines, i.e. our house. Power went out. So there is it; yeah, it affects me,” Kurt Sellmeyer said.

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    He is one of the 2,500 customers to lose power after the break-in. Sellmeyer wasn’t surprised to hear about the substation theft.

    “Heck, people are stealing lawn furniture because there’s metal in it. So no, it doesn’t surprise me on that. But where it was stolen from and so forth, a lot of danger there,” he said.

    The damage to the substation is estimated to be around $100,000. Ameren has security measures in place to try to prevent these break-ins.

    “From a stand point of trying to do everything we can to keep individuals out of our substation, we’re also using specialty wire that has no scrap value to deter any future thefts,” Lynch said.

    Court records show Keenan has a long criminal history, with charges in both St. Louis County and Iron County. He is facing tampering with service of utility, second-degree burglary, property damage, and other charges for the substation break-in.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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