A 16-year-old Shawnee teen was electrocuted while working on his computer.
The teen was discovered dead in his home on Aug. 16. An autopsy was performed, which revealed the teen had suffered an electrical burn after he accessed the power supply area of the computer.
Further investigation revealed that the teen was working on a family computer, which was unplugged at the time, police said. Authorities believe the teen was stripping an older computer for parts.
Authorities said the boy was proficient with computers, but his death underscores the dangers of working on computers if you aren't trained to do so. Police stressed this should be left to the professionals.
Shawnee police said too many don't realize that computers carry a charge in them even when they are unplugged and broken. They urge everyone not to strip an old computer to build a new one.
"There's a real danger if you don't know what you are doing," said Shawnee Capt. Dan Tennis.
Dave Bradshaw, head technician for Skyline Computers, said too frequently people are shocked while working on computers and other electronics.
"Older-style TVs with the big tubes, there's been a lot of people electrocuted by those," Bradshaw said. "They store a huge charge in them to get the TV tube to fire up."
Microwaves, laptops, gaming consoles and other electronics have power storage areas that can shock people even when unplugged.
Bradshaw said generally the electronics have strong warnings not to remove the cover and have the device serviced by an expert.
"Too many things are inside that can actually get you hurt," Bradshaw said. "There's some ways that you can get shocked with any electrical device. But if you don't have any basic training, it makes no sense to go inside and do it."
Power storage boxes are inexpensive to replace, Bradshaw said.
"Why tear into it to replace it for $20? You're taking your life into your own hands," he said, adding it's a risk even he with all his experience won't take.
The manufacturer of the power supply has not been identified.
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