545.05  TAMPERING WITH AND THEFT OF UTILITIES.
   (a)   No person shall knowingly, without the utility's consent, with intent to violate subsection (b) hereof:
      (1)   Tamper with a gas, electric, steam or water meter, conduit or attachment of a utility;
      (2)   Reconnect a gas, electric, steam or water meter, conduit or attachment of a utility that has been disconnected by the utility.
   In a prosecution under subsection (a)(1) hereof, proof that a meter, conduit or attachment of a utility has been tampered with is prima-facie evidence that the person who is obligated to pay for the service rendered through the meter, conduit or attachment, and who is in possession or control of the meter, conduit or attachment at the time the tampering occurred, has caused the tampering with intent to violate subsection (b) hereof.
   In a prosecution under subsection (a)(2) hereof, proof that a meter, conduit or attachment disconnected by a utility has been reconnected without the consent of the utility is prima-facie evidence that the person in possession or control of the meter, conduit or attachment at the time of the reconnection has reconnected the meter, conduit or attachment with intent to violate subsection (b) hereof.
   As used in this section, "utility" means any electric light company, gas company, natural gas company, pipe-line company, waterworks company or heating or cooling company, as defined in Ohio R.C. 4905.03(A)(4), (5), (6), (7), (8) or (9), its lessees, trustees or receivers, or any similar utility owned or operated by a political subdivision.
   As used in this section, to "tamper" means to interfere with, damage or bypass a utility meter, conduit or attachment with the intent to impede the correct registration of a meter or the proper functions of a conduit or attachment so as to reduce the amount of utility service that is registered on such meter.
 
   (b)   No person shall knowingly consume any gas, electricity, steam or water that has not been correctly registered because a meter, conduit or attachment of a utility has been tampered with, or knowingly use service that has been discontinued by a utility and reconnected without the utility's consent.
 
   (c)   Such utility shall notify its customers, on an annual basis, of the consequences of tampering with or bypassing a meter.
 
   (d)   Whoever violates subsection (a) hereof is guilty of tampering with utility equipment, a misdemeanor of the first degree, provided the cost of the gas, electricity, steam or water stolen, plus the cost of repair or replacement of the meters, conduits or attachments damaged in violation of subsection (a)(1) or (2) hereof is less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and provided the offender has not previously been convicted of a violation of subsection (a) hereof.  Whoever violates subsection (a) hereof shall make restitution to the utility for the cost of repair or replacement of the meters, conduits or attachments damaged and for the value of the gas, electricity, steam or water consumed.
 
   (e)   Whoever violates subsection (b) hereof is guilty of theft of utility service, a misdemeanor of the first degree, provided the value of the gas, electricity, steam or water is less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and provided the offender has not previously been convicted of a violation of subsection (b) hereof.  Whoever violates subsection (b) hereof shall make restitution to the utility for the value of the gas, electricity, steam or water consumed in violation of that subsection.