SPRING HILL — A Spring Hill man stole more than $18,000 worth of electricity over four years after rigging his breaker boxes and meter, Hernando County authorities allege.
On Wednesday, a sheriff's deputy met with a Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative employee at the home of Christopher Matthew Soults, 4500 Elwood Road, according to an arrest report. The employee told the deputy Soults had not paid his electric bill and that the air conditioner was still running, even after power to the house had been shut off.
In the garage, they found that the air conditioner was wired to a breaker that bypassed the meter. On the roof, more faulty wiring was found. Soults told deputies he'd made some renovations since moving into the house in July 2010 but nothing related to the breaker boxes or meter.
Bills from WREC showed that Soults paid $106.91 in July 2010, then $192.56 in August and $52.51 in September, according to the report. After that, only once did Soults pay a bill of more than $80. The company estimated he stole a total of $18,826 of electricity.
Deputies arrested Soults on a grand theft charge. He was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center. He was released after posting $2,000 bail.