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2 Charged With Energy Theft

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Two Detroit men have been charged with illegal electric hook ups. Wayne County Prosecutors say 56-year-old James Payne and 49-year-old Darnell Jackson rented houses to people where the electricity and gas had been turned on illegally.

One of those houses was the scene of a tragic fire where three children died in March.

DTE Vice President Michael Lynch said, in this case, the fire was not caused by the illegal hook up. But he said energy theft is dangerous and against the law.

“We believe that the facts will bear out that the landlord, in this case, was offering rent cheap, under the guise of providing electricity in the rent — where it was actually [stolen],” Lynch said.

“That kind of behavior puts tenants at risk for fires and/or explosions,” he said.

 The two suspects are each charged with six felony counts and could face up to five years in prison.

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