Former Elizabethton lineman charged with stealing electricity

John Thompson • Updated Nov 9, 2017 at 5:33 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A former lineman with the Elizabethton Electric Department has been charged with stealing electricity.

Jared Michael McKinney, 44, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of theft of property over $2,500 and less than $10,000. The charge stems from an indictment by a Carter County grand jury on Nov. 1.

According to the indictment, McKinney was accused of taking the electricity between November 2015 and June 5, 2017.

City Manager Jerome Kitchens said McKinney's employment with the Electric Department has been terminated.

Kitchens said the alleged theft was discovered when department officials were investigating a complaint about the use of a Department vehicle for personal business. The complaint was lodged during a domestic dispute, Kitchens said.

When Electric Department officers went to McKinney's residence on that complaint, they noticed the intake wiring to McKinney's residence was improperly installed. Kitchens said when the officials examined the wiring, they found some of the electricity was bypassing the meter.

Photographs were taken which showed the improper connection. When officials returned a few weeks later, they reported the wiring had been restored to the proper configuration.

Kitchens said electric usage is monitored and the discrepancy at the McKinney house would have been reviewed, but the check was not made because McKinney claimed he had installed an alternate heating system in the home, accounting for the lower usage from the past pattern.

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