Tampering with water meters is prohibited by G.S. § 14-159.1 as follows.
   (A)   It shall be unlawful for any unauthorized person to alter, tamper with, or bypass a meter which has been installed for the purpose of measuring water or knowingly to use water bypassing a meter provided by water supplier for the purpose of measuring and registering the quantity of water consumed.
   (B)   Any meter or service entrance facility found to have been altered, tampered with, or bypassed in a manner that would cause such meter to inaccurately measure and register the water to be diverted from the recording apparatus of the meter, shall be the prima facie evidence of intent to violate and of the violation of this section by the person in whose name such meter is installed or the person or persons so using or receiving the benefits of such unmetered, unregistered, or diverted water and shall be assessed a meter tampering and/or unauthorized tap charge, in an amount as set by the Board of Commissioners from time to time, and/or legal action.
   (C)   Nothing in this act shall be construed to apply to licensed contractors while performing usual and ordinary services in accordance with recognized customs and standards.
   (D)   The person or persons making unauthorized taps or meter tampering or the person knowingly benefiting from such water or sewer service will be billed for unauthorized usage at current rates. The usage shall be estimated by the town and the minimum charge shall be $25.
   (E)   Connection fees and unauthorized tap charges must also be paid. Service to the house, building, or other customer-owned facilities will not be restored until such payment has been received by the town.
(2013 Code, § 18.59)  Penalty, see § 50.99