Section 13A-8-23

Tampering with availability of gas, electricity, or water.

(a) The following terms shall have the meanings ascribed thereto unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(1) OWNER. Includes any part owner, joint owner, tenant-in-common, joint tenant, or tenant by the entirety of the whole or part of any building.

(2) PERSON. Includes a corporation, firm, company, or association.

(3) TENANT or OCCUPANT. Shall include any person who occupies the whole or a part of any building whether alone or with others and shall include the owner.

(4) UTILITY. Any public or private utility authorized to provide electricity, natural gas, or water or any combination thereof for sale to consumers in any particular service area.

(5) UTILITY SERVICES. The products, commodities, and services provided by a utility to its customers.

(b) It shall be unlawful for a tenant, occupant, or any other person to commit any of the following acts which could, or in fact does, make gas, electricity, or water unlawfully available to such tenant, occupant, or person, or to another:

(1) To connect any tube, pipe, wire, or other instrument with any meter, device, or other instrument used for conducting gas, electricity, or water in such a manner as to permit the use of said gas, electricity, or water without the same passing through a meter or other instrument recording the usage for billing.

(2) To alter, injure, turn on, or prevent the action of a meter, valve, stopcock, or other instrument used for measuring quantities of gas, electricity, or water.

(3) To break, deface, or cause to be broken or defaced any seal, locking device, or other parts that make up a metering device for recording usage of gas, electricity, or water or a security system for the recording device.

(4) To remove a metering device for measuring quantities of gas, electricity, or water.

(5) To transfer from one location to another a metering device for measuring utilities of gas, electricity, or water.

(6) To use a metering device belonging to the utility that has not been assigned to the location and installed by the utility.

(7) To adjust the indicated consumption, to jam the measuring device, to bypass the meter or measuring device with a jumper so that it does not indicate use or registers incorrectly, or to otherwise obtain quantities of gas, electricity, or water from the utility without same passing through a metering device for measuring quantities of consumption for billing.

(8) To fabricate or to use a device to pick or otherwise tamper with the locks used to deter current diversion, meter tampering, and meter thefts.

(9) To otherwise take any action resulting in the diversion or unauthorized use of gas, electricity, or water.

(c) Any property on which it is found to have electric, gas, or water utilities tampered with in violation of this section and capable of receiving gas, electricity, or water as a result of the use of any method of diversion prohibited herein shall be prima facie evidence and create against the tenant, occupant, or other person a presumption of intent to tamper or divert in violation of this section.

(d) Any occupant, tenant, or other person who violates this section, and any person who aids and abets in such prohibited acts, who shall be deemed a principal to such acts, shall be guilty of a Class C felony if the theft amount exceeds five hundred dollars ($500) in value and a Class A misdemeanor if the theft amount is less than or equal to five hundred dollars ($500) in value, as provided by the state criminal code, and upon conviction, be punished as prescribed by law.

(e) The provisions of this section are supplemental to the provisions of the offense of theft of services as provided in Section 13A-8-10, and shall in no way repeal or modify Section 13A-8-10.

(Acts 1986, No. 86-429, p. 795; Act 2003-355, p. 962, §1.)