January 30, 2006
The rising cost of gas and electricity has some looking to extreme measures to stay powered up. News 12 breaks down two cases of electric theft.
Theft of Electricity is a somewhat rare criminal charge. But just last week there were two cases in North Augusta alone.
“With the cost of gas and electricity going up in the winter seasons, people will try to do anything,” said Jonathan Malcom, North Augusta Public Safety.
Jonathan Malcom responded last Tuesday to 204 Vancouver Road where officers saw jumper cables connected to a meter base. Charges are pending in the case.
“We saw that the power box where you get your power had been pulled, the box had been pried open and the person applied jumper cables,” Malcom said.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, officers arrested Robert Hallford and charged him with theft of electricity. According to a police report, Hallford was stealing power from his next-door neighbor on Georgia Avenue. An orange extension cord was connecting the two houses and when an officer pulled the plug, a radio and lamp shut down at Hallford’s house.
“That just goes to show you people will go to any extremes to get power,” Malcom said.
No on was at either location when News 12 stopped by. At Robert Hallford’s house, the lights appeared to be off, even though the Christmas lights are still up.
South Carolina Electric and Gas officials say all customers should check the seal on their meter to make sure it is intact. And if you notice a significant spike in your bill, make sure no one’s connected to your power. If convicted on a first offense, you can get thirty days in jail for stealing electricity. The second offense can get you up to three years behind bars.