Vandal puts self, public at risk of electrocution breaking open meters

      CORVALLIS, Ore. - Vandals damaged over 150 electric meters in the alleyways downtown this month, putting both the perpetrator and the public at risk of electrocution, Pacific Power said.

      The utility said vandals have done thousands of dollars in damage by breaking open the electric meters.

      The damage could also put the vandals - and innocent passersby - in danger.

      "There's voltage in the back of that, so then anybody can come by, accidently hit it, hit it with a stick, a piece of wire in their hand - and get electrocuted," said Doris Johnston with Pacific Power.

      Police have increased patrols in the area. So far, they've not identified a motive for the vandalism, which doesn't produce a stolen item of value.

      That makes this vandalism different than the copper wire that has plagued phone companies in western Oregon in recent weeks. Those thieves steal the wire to sell for scrap.