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Tue January 3, 2012
Utility company warns against tampering
GREENVILLE - Greenville’s two municipally-owned utilities have seen an increased number of customers attempting to steal electricity and water in recent years.
GEUS and the City of Greenville announced Tuesday that theft of electric & water service will not be tolerated.
"Tampering with, or damaging meters is essentially stealing. These offenses are investigated in the same manner as other stealing offenses. Once the police department obtains information and evidence of tampering with a meter, we take the steps necessary to see that those responsible are prosecuted", said Chief Dan Busken, Greenville Police Department.
New measures are continually being added to find people committing these crimes. Once tampering is found, the services are terminated until such time as the $125\meter tampering fee is paid by the customer and the meter base is inspected. The person will then be required to come before a Judge to face possible fines and jail time.
Assistant City Attorney Daniel Ray explains, "The evidence the Municipal Court receives from GEUS is so detailed and specific, we have had great success in negotiating guilty pleas from defendants. Most have chosen to pay the fine, and one chose a weekend in jail, but we have not seen any of them re-offend to date. We believe the City's active prosecution of all utility theft cases will help deter would-be violators and keep our utility costs low."
Theft of utility services by a few dishonest people causes all honest customers to have to pay more to make up for the losses. Consumers are encouraged to anonymously contact GEUS at 903-457-2800 anytime they suspect theft of utility services is occurring in the community.