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General Laws

Section 127. Whoever unlawfully and with intent to avoid payment by himself or another person for a prospective or previously rendered service the charge or compensation for which is measured by a meter or other mechanical device injures or destroys, or suffers to be injured or destroyed, any meter, pipe, conduit, wire, line, pole, lamp or other apparatus belonging to a corporation engaged in the manufacture or sale of electricity or to any person, or whoever unlawfully and with intent to avoid payment by himself or another person for a prospective or previously rendered service prevents an electric meter from duly registering the quantity of electricity supplied, or in any way interferes with its proper action or just registration, or, without the consent of such corporation or person, unlawfully and intentionally diverts or suffers to be diverted any electrical current from any wire of such corporation or person, or otherwise unlawfully and intentionally uses or causes to be used, without the consent of such corporation or person, any electricity manufactured or distributed by such corporation, or charged to such person, 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 electricity 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 electricity for less than thirty-one days or until there has been at least one meter reading, whichever first occurs.

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