Plug pulled on power scam
Georgetown man sent to jail after stealing power from Maritime Electric for more than three years
A vacant house was just too irresistible for Michael Lavie - especially one with the power still on.
Four years ago, Lavie, 55, of Georgetown conjured up a way to help himself to the power supply of a neighbouring property.
And ever since, he has cooled his beer and baked his pizza - free of charge.
Lavie was in provincial court Thursday after pleading guilty to three counts involving the theft of electrical equipment and the stealing of thousands of dollars’ worth of power from Maritime Electric.
It was a long investigation that led to his sentencing day and court officials admitted it was an unusual and complicated case.
“He somehow was able to attach a different meter to his house that gave a different reading,’’ suggested crown prosecutor Nathan Beck.
Lavie acquired the electrical meter from an older home on George Street in Georgetown after the owner had left. The house was finally torn down in 2012.
Lavie then used the stolen power meter to run his own home, according to police, from Jan. 1 2012 to Jan. 26, 2015.
Judge Nancy Orr was told the accused had it down pat when the meter reader came calling. He would “swap” out the stolen meter with a dummy meter and when the Maritime Electric employee was gone the freebie meter went back to work.
Kim Griffin of Maritime Electric said the new technology used today would have flagged the thefts and suggested an older meter was likely attached to the former home and was nabbed before the structure was torn down.
“It was a terribly unsafe situation that could have led to fire or electrocution,’’ said the public relations officer from her Charlottetown office.
“And it would have required some vast electrical knowledge to pull it off.”
But somehow Lavie did, and he quietly got a charge out of enjoying all the benefits without having to pay.
The court was told the lights started to flicker on the ruse when a meter reader made a surprise visit on Christmas Eve, discovered the scam, and informed police.
“This is extreme level of theft,’’ said Judge Orr. “Customers of Maritime Electric should not expect to acquire their electricity in such a manner.”
Lavie was sentenced to a total of 90 days in jail and an agreement has been reached in which he will be required to repay Maritime Electric $5,000 for the stolen power.