UPDATED: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 9:19pm
Moody, TX — Three Moody residents caught tampering with a couple electric meters are out on bond Wednesday night.
An illegal practice that they thought would save them money instead landed the trio behind bars. Police say stealing electricity is an old crime that continues to gain popularity.
"Meter tampering is not a new problem. I mean, it's just a problem that's been around forever," said Moody Police Chief Christian Velseka.
Veselka says electricity theft appears to go hand in hand with the tough economy.
"The economy, as bad as it is, and just people having a harder time making ends meet, they're just short-cutting the system and trying to get free electricity," said Velseka.
This particular theft case started in September 2011 when police say they received a call about Jessica Aguilar tampering with the electric meter at a home she was leasing to own in the 600 block of Avenue F. Aguilar's friends, Ashley Stevens and David Fernandez reportedly helped her steal electricity at this location, along with a house Aguilar owned that Fernandez was staying at in the 600 block of Avenue G. The electricity theft on Avenue G lasted from September 2011 to February 2013. The theft on Avenue F lasted for about nine months.
"We called Oncor. Oncor came out and investigated and saw that indeed the meter had been tampered with. They pulled the meter and killed the electricity from the pole going to the house," said Velseka.
Veselka says tampering with electricity is very dangerous, and no 'freebie' is worth risking your life.
"When you're handling electricity, you don't know what you're doing. And, you're not wearing proper safety equipment. You go in there and start cutting live wires, I mean, it can kill you," said Velseka.
Their electric thefts resulted in more than 11-thousand dollars. At this time, the trio is out on bond. They are charged with criminal mischief of more that $1,500 and less than $20,000.