Linton woman charged with two counts of theft of utilities

A Linton woman whose electric service had been disconnected was in court this week, accused of stealing electricity first from a city utility, then from a neighbor. She allegedly strung a cord from her house to the neighbor’s and plugged in to an outside receptacle without permission.

Michele Lynn Haldeman

Michele Lynn Haldeman

Michele Lynn Haldeman, 55, Linton, was charged with two counts of theft with a prior conviction for theft, both Level 6 felonies, when she appeared in Greene Superior Court on Tuesday.

The thefts allegedly occurred back in May and July and the case against Haldeman was filed in early September. A warrant for her arrest was issued at that time, but this case and her arrest was delayed because Haldeman was in the Dubois County Jail.

After Haldeman completed serving a sentence in Dubois County, she was transferred into the Greene County Jail to face the current charges here. She was booked in by GCSD Maj. George Dallaire on November 20. Her bond was set at $8,000 surety with ten percent cash allowed but she has not yet posted bond and as of early Friday, she was still in jail.

The case came about as a result of an investigation by Det. Paul Clark of the Linton Police Department. It started when Clark was contacted by an employee of Linton Municipal Utilities who said there was an illegal electric connection at Haldeman’s residence.

The employee said the electrical service had been disconnected in March for non-payment but they got a tip informing them of an illegal connection in early May. He said when he inspected it, he found the seal on the meter had been cut and the meter had been reconnected.

The employee removed the meter and based on readings, estimated the amount of electricity used illegally was worth approximately $269.

Then last July, Clark responded to another report of theft of utilities at Haldeman’s residence. When he arrived at the property, he saw an extension cord strung between the residence and another home next door.

Clark reported that when he talked to the neighbor, they had noticed an extension cord plugged into their outside receptacle with the cord running across the yard and into a window at Haldeman’s house. They said someone would have had to move several items in order to access their outside receptacle. They also said they had not given anyone permission to use the receptacle as a source of electricity.

According to Clark, when he talked to Haldeman, she did say she’d plugged into the neighbor’s receptacle and admitted she had not asked anyone for permission.  

Clark noted Haldeman was previously convicted of theft in August of 2017.