SOUTH ELGIN, Ill. (STMW) – ComEd shut down Jesus Correa-Mendoza’s electrical service for nonpayment in July 2006. That didn’t stop him from powering his home, but he got a jolt Tuesday when authorities arrested the 45-year-old South Elgin man and charged with stealing electricity from the utility for more than four years.
Correa-Mendoza is accused of manipulating a power box at his house, in the 1000 block of Mark Street, and illegally using ComEd electricity since shortly after his power was shut down in 2006, a spokesman for the northwest suburban South Elgin Police Department said.
Accused of stealing more than $4,000 worth of electricity during that time, according to police, Correa-Mendoza is charged with Class 3 felony theft and is being held at the Kane County Jail, court records said. His bail is set at $250,000.
South Elgin police began to investigate Correa-Mendoza earlier this year when contacted by personnel from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department, police said.
The agencies executed a search warrant about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday at Correa-Mendoza’s home, arrested the alleged thief and confiscated his manipulated power box, police reports said.
“We can affirm that service to that address was cut off for non-payment in July 2006,” said Matt Levin, spokesman for ComEd. Levin could said he not comment on how much power may have been stolen between that time and Dec. 21.
Levin said he also could not comment specifically on how Correa-Mendoza stole the electricity, but explained that there are several ways utility theft occurs, including jimmying electrical equipment so that wattage used at one home is registered and logged as being drawn by surrounding houses.
“Utility theft happens, and it is important people know it is a crime. It is a felony,” he said.
© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed