Tenn. man shocked, seriously injured after trying to steal copper from substation

The substation and Joseph Buhlinger (WKRN/Metro-Nashville Police Department)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A man remains hospitalized after police say he was shocked as he tried to steal copper from an electrical substation.

A witness called 911 after he heard a loud boom and saw the man hanging on to a part of equipment with his pants on fire Tuesday morning on Dunn Avenue near the Nashville fairgrounds.


The witness reported he could also see sparks flying from the equipment.

When emergency crews responded to the scene, the man was moaning and screaming, according to police.

Police said Joseph Buhlinger was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and last listed in critical but stable condition.

The incident caused a power outage for thousands of people just south of downtown.

It is unknown if the Nashville Electric Service will file charges against Buhlinger.

The 43-year-old man has been accused in similar incidents in Nashville dating back to late 2007.

Buhlinger, who is homeless, was convicted of burglarizing the same Dunn Avenue substation in 2015. He has previous convictions for felony theft, burglary, and assault.

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