Police open utility theft case after random extension cord found in resident’s outlet

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Higher electric bills and a random extension cord. That’s how a Kunia woman found out that someone has been stealing her electricity.

Now she’s on the hook for the bigger bills and concerned about safety.

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The victim never knew there was an extension cord until someone who was on a morning walk notified her about it. It ran from the back of Shantel Wells’ house all the way down to the ditch.

“There’s like a homeless camp that kind of lives all over there,” said Wells. “We usually see them a lot at Walmart panhandling.”

Wells says she hasn’t noticed the extension cord before.

“I think they do it when we’re all asleep because in the back it’s really dark,” she explains. “Like sometimes I hear noises out back and I keep saying, oh I think someone might be walking around in the back. We go to look but we don’t see anyone.”

But what she has found was her electric bill was higher than usual over the last few months.

“Our bill comes up to almost $200 every month,” she said. “I kind of had a feeling something was going on, but then we finally caught it in action.”

She doesn’t know if other neighbors have experienced the same issue. For Wells, this is the first time it’s happened to her personally, and she’s concerned.

“I have kids,” said Wells. “If they feel comfortable just hopping over the fence into our gated, locked area, it’s a little frightening for myself as a single parent. We just think, wow, you know. They feel comfortable taking electricity from us then what else could they do?”

Hawaiian Electric says these types of incidents are not uncommon. Customers should recognize spikes in usage and inspect their property. The company says Wells did the right thing by reporting it to police. As for recouping any overuse from the theft?

The spokeswoman for HECO says:
“Any electricity beyond the meter is the customer’s electricity – so the power being taken is no longer Hawaiian Electric’s. The customer would need to recoup losses from the perpetrator(s).”

Honolulu police tell us the case is classified as theft of utility services.

No arrests have been made at this time.

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