Haverhill police are continuing to investigate who cut into a live 23,000-volt cable Wednesday afternoon, in an apparent attempt to steal copper.
Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said that a hacksaw was found melted near the high-voltage cable, and police believe the would-be thief suffered an electric shock.
“We were expecting to find someone either very injured or worse,” he said. But the culprit remains on the loose.
Police said someone broke a padlock on the gate of the substation on South Kimball Street in order to get access to the wire, which provided thousands with power. More than 2,000 people lost power for about an hour as a result.
The theory, Thompson said, is that someone tried to steal the cable because it had a casing that resembled copper. But when they tried to cut it, they would have been shocked, police believe.
Police searched the area, including a nearby forest and river with the help of State Police and the harbormaster. Though the investigation is ongoing, Thompson said, they have called off the search.
Local hospitals reported that no one has checked in with severe burns.
“We’re watching to see if somebody turns up,” Thompson said.