The body of a man was found inside an underground electrical vault at the shuttered Carousel Mall in San Bernardino.  

Security video from the area showed the man wearing a backpack walking outside the mall at around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.  

Hours later, just after 7 a.m., a fire was reported at the mall. Southern California Edison also detected circuit activity in the area that caused a power outage to more than 400 customers.  

Jeff Kraus, a spokesperson for the City of San Bernardino, told KTLA that they believe the person was attempting to break into the mall, not knowing the power was still on, and he was electrocuted.

“We believe that they were attempting to remove copper or things to scavenge, and they hit a live line and electrocuted themselves,” Kraus said.  

The owner of a nearby building, Alan Stanly, who provided KTLA with the security video, said he has witnessed dozens of fires at the defunct mall and that it attracts scavengers and the unhoused.  

“We see people on a regular basis coming through to mine for metals or to have shelter, homeless people. It’s a daily occurrence,” Stanly said.  

The embattled mall has been a hotspot for crime and illegal activity since closing in 2017.  

“It’s a constant battle to secure that building,” Kraus told KTLA.  

The city has struggled to get the mall demolished and develop what could become a site for more than 3,500 housing units and commercial spaces.  

“Going to council next week is a proposal for the city to demolish the mall,” Kraus said, “which gets us one step closer to being able to redevelop it, and so they’ll be looking at awarding a contract to a company to demolish the mall. If the contract is awarded by the first week of January, we will be demolishing and clearing that mall site.”  

In the meantime, crews with SoCal Edison worked for hours to repair the underground vault.  

The San Bernardino County Coroner has not yet released the identity of the man whose body was recovered at the site.