Police say stealing power is risky business

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A few days ago a Lufkin house was lit up and had running water... all for free. Police said the home's power and water was allegedly stolen.

"It's always an ongoing problem and I would think with the bad economic times, there's a very good chance there's an increase in those numbers," said Lt. David Young, Lufkin Police Department spokesperson.

Oncor Energy said they have 30,000 customers, and each month some are caught stealing power. "Whether they tie onto someone else's power, whether they remove the meter and find ways to reroute the energy, but they are pretty creative," said David Collier, Oncor Energy Area Manager.

Police said thousands of dollars worth of electricity and water use is stolen each year. "In a lot of these cases we see, the people damage the meter or they damage the city property and that can go up to $1,500 very quickly," said Lt. Young.

Free power comes with a price. Collier said tampering with a meter is dangerous. "They could be electrocuted, they could have an electrical flash that would burn them and thirdly a very hazardous scenario is where they could start a fire," he said.

Police said if you see anyone tampering with their meter you should call them immediately.

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