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General Laws

Section 126. Whoever wilfully or fraudulently injures, disconnects, removes or otherwise interferes with, or suffers to be injured, disconnected, removed or otherwise interfered with, any meter, pipes or fittings belonging to a gas company or to any person, or prevents a meter from duly registering the quantity of gas supplied through the same, or in any way hinders or interferes with its proper action of just registration, or fraudulently burns or wastes the gas of such company or of any person, or whoever attaches a pipe or any appliance to a main or pipe belonging to a gas company, or, without the written consent of such company, uses or causes to be used any gas supplied by such company, unless the same passes through a meter set by the company, or uses or causes to be used, any gas charge to any person without his written consent, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

The existence of any of the conditions with reference to meters or attachments described in this section shall be prima facie evidence that a firm, corporation or other business entity, commercial or industrial, to whom such gas is, at the time, being furnished by or through such meters or attachments has, with intent to defraud, created or caused to be created with reference to such meters or attachments, the condition so existing; provided, however, that nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the introduction of any other competent evidence bearing upon the question of whether or not the defendant was responsible for the acts alleged to have been committed; provided, further, that the prima facie evidence referred to in this paragraph shall not apply to a residential customer; provided, further, that the prima facie evidence referred to in this paragraph shall not apply to any firm, corporation or other business entity, commercial or industrial, so furnished with gas for less than thirty-one days or until there has been at least one meter reading, whichever first occurs.

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