Police said a man in Maine went to great heights to steal electricity from a power pole outside of his home.
Nicholas Gagne, 36, of Wales, has been charged with theft of services. Police said he scaled a power pole, connected jumper cables to the transformer at the top, and ran cables down into his house.
According to Central Maine Power spokesperson Gail Rice, a power crew noticed something wrong with the pole, located along Oak Hill Road in Wales. It was the third time CMP had an issue with this customer, so they called Maine State Police for help.
“The investigation revealed that Gagne was climbing up the power pole outside of his house,” a Maine State Police spokesman said, estimating that Gagne stole about $3,000 in electricity. “The CMP official was impressed with the ingenuity, [and] told [police] that it was wildly dangerous.”
Rice said the cable was hot to the touch, which meant it was overloaded. She added that the jerry-rigged power pole created a fire hazard and could have shocked someone who came into contact with the cable.
“A fraction of an amp can stop an individual’s heart,” said Rice. “He created an extremely dangerous situation for himself, for our employees, and for people who happened to be in the area.”
Gagne declined to be interviewed on camera, but told NECN he is involved in a billing dispute with CMP. When the power company shut off his power, he said, he took matters into his own hands and climbed the pole.
“It’s not hard,” he said.
When asked if he thought his actions were dangerous, Gagne said the situation has been blown out of proportion. He disputes the thousands of dollars in power he is accused of stealing.
According to the Androscoggin County court, Gagne is scheduled to be arraigned in March. He may also face additional charges including Aggravated Criminal Mischief. Gagne said he does not yet have an attorney.