BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- In the last 6 months, Bangor Hydro Electric Company has had thieves steal nearly $50,000 worth of electricity, as well as hundreds of pounds worth of copper from it's substations. Thefts that have led to a partnership with law enforcement.

Friday morning Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service Company announced that with the help of nearly a dozen law enforcement agencies, they're hoping to put a stop to the copper thefts in eastern and northern Maine. Bangor Hydro estimates that it has lost more than $48,000 worth of electricity. Often times when customers somehow disconnect key wires in their power meters, so the meters aren't accurately showing how much electricity is being used.

"Thieves get very clever in terms of diverting power and so it's more difficult to catch some of those," said President and COO of Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service, Gerry Chasse.

The Bangor Police Department is currently investigating 8 electric service and copper theft related cases. In the last year, 23 charges have been filed for theft of services or equipment by Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service. Charges in these cases can range from class E misdemeanors to class B felonies.

"You could go to jail for a very long time based on how much you steal in copper or electricity," said Sgt. Paul Edwards with the Bangor Police Department.

If found guilty of those charges, a person could face up to 10 years in jail and as much as $20,000 in fines. Anyone with information about meter tampering or other tampering of electric utility equipment is asked to call their local law enforcement agency.

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