WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A 30-year-old Wichita Falls man is accused of repeatedly thwarting efforts by an Oncor service technician to prevent him from tapping into lines for free electricity.
Matthew Maxwell is jailed for criminal mischief by interfering with a public service. Police said on numerous occasions last year Maxwell tampered with wires to bring electricity into his home in the 2000 block of Collins Avenue.
An Oncor technician first went to check on it after a meter that was disconnected at Maxwell’s home triggered the system that it had power. The technician went to to the home and found signs of tampering so he removed the meter box. He returned the next day to find more signs of tampering. He notified the police at this time, but no report was taken.
Six days later more signs of tampering were found. The next day the technician found a wire clipped to the neighbor’s power line running back to the suspect house. He took photos and reported it to the police. A day later, he returned and found another line clipped to the neighbor’s line. He called the police and decided to drive around the block and return. When he did, he said the line had already been taken down.
Police arrived and found where the black plastic coating on the neighbor’s wire had been stripped away. Police went to talk to Maxwell at the house next door and asked him if anything had happened to his power. He said Maxwell said it had been cut off a week ago because they could not pay the bill.
When the officer asked why someone was tapping into the neighbor’s power, he said Maxwell said he had no idea. But the officer said Maxwell also said he was aware the home he lived in had electricity though he was not paying for any. He also said Maxwell was aware there were wires with jumper cables connected to the home and connected to other lines.