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posted: 1/4/2013 9:37 AM

Copper thieves suspected in home blast

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Associated Press

WORDEN, Ill. -- Investigators say they might never know exactly what touched off an explosion that leveled a southwestern Illinois farmhouse, but they suspect copper thieves could be to blame.

Nobody was hurt in the blast about 1 a.m. Thursday near Worden, a Madison County community about 45 miles northeast of St. Louis.

Prairietown Fire Chief John Gusewelle says copper pipes outside and inside the home on the 57-acre property had been cut out. But he says the damage has left it impossible to determine the exact cause of the explosion.

Neighbor Joel Bradler says he's been doing renovations for the property's owner and that when he was there Wednesday he didn't notice an odor of leaking gas or anything else unusual.

The home's previous occupants both died in 2011.

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