(KMOV) –Ameren Missouri officials told News 4 they lose millions of dollars in revenue every year because of people stealing electricity and they say they pass the cost on to their customers.
“It was very shoddy,” said St. Louis County Police Officer Mike Hooten.
Officer Hooten noticed an extension cord running from a business into the window of a home in North County last week and arrested the man inside.
“He was essentially stealing electricity from that facility to run electricity in his own home,” Officer Hooten said.
That suspect is far from the only one.
Mark Ewing was charged for a similar crime in St. Louis city last week, running extension cords from a multi-family home on west Florissant into his own.
Ameren Missouri officials say electrical theft from them is common, committed by the needy and the downright greedy.
“We find it in affluent middle class neighborhoods, it’s all over,” said Tommie Gray with Ameren Missouri.
Gray says thieves who Jerry-rig free electricity often create real danger. “Someone could be severely burned or even possibly electrocuted,” Gray said.
They also create extra cost for us all. That’s why they, and police say, keep an eye out.
“Just be hyper vigilant. Look out for yourself, look out for your neighbors,” Officer Hooten said.
If convicted of the crimes, the suspects in these cases could face up to seven years in prison.