PROCEEDINGS IN SPECIAL CASES
539:7 Theft of Utility Services.
I. A person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, if a natural person, or a felony, if any other person, who:
(a) Knowingly injures, destroys, or causes to be injured or destroyed any meter, pipe, conduit, wire, line, post, lamp or other device or attachment belonging to a person or corporation engaged in the manufacture or sale of electricity, gas, water, or telephone communications services;
(b) Knowingly interferes with the proper action or just registration of any meter or other recording device belonging to a person or corporation described in subparagraph (a);
(c) Knowingly participates in causing the prohibited result in either subparagraph (a) or (b); or
(d) Without the consent of the person or corporation described in subparagraph (a), knowingly diverts, causes to be diverted, or allows to be diverted for his use any utility service from such person or corporation.
II. The existence of any of the results prohibited in paragraph I with reference to meters, recording devices or attachments shall be evidence that the person to whom such utility service is at the time being furnished by or through such meters, recording devices, or attachments, has knowingly created or caused to be created the conditions so existing; provided that the evidence referred to in this paragraph shall not apply to any person who has been furnished with electric, gas, water or telephone service for less than 31 days, or until the first meter reading has been made; and, provided further that the evidence referred to in this paragraph shall not apply to any person whose electric meter, recording devices and attachments are on the property of another person or under the control of another person.
III. Nothing in this section shall limit any civil right of action lying in favor of any utility as a result of damage occurring from any act prohibited under paragraph I. Damages shall include the cost of the utility service wrongfully used, the cost of the equipment repair or replacement as necessary, attorney's fees, and all costs to the utility, including labor in undertaking and completing the investigation resulting in a determination of liability under this section.
IV. Nothing in this section shall limit or restrict the prosecution of a person under RSA 637:8.
Source. 1901, 41:1. PL 355:7. RL 411:7. RSA 539:7. 1973, 529:124. 1981, 448:1. 1985, 134:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.