WOONSOCKET — A local man was charged with the theft of natural gas service after police located stolen National Grid equipment and tools at the apartment where he was staying on Saturday.
Timothy E. Ring, 34, was located in a bedroom in an apartment at 47 Paradis Ave. after police investigated a report of gas service tampering at the location at about 1 p.m. Saturday.
A National Grid employee called Patrolman Thomas Gormley III to the location after discovering that a stolen gas meter may have been attached to lines for a shutoff service at the property.
The police officer attempted to contact the residents of the affected apartment but did not get an immediate response, according to police reports. The gas company had responded to the property over reports of leaking gas at the residence and concerns an explosion could occur.
While Gormley and the National Grid employee were waiting for a property manager to arrive at the location, a female tenant of the first floor apartment came out on the porch and spoke with the officer. An odor of gas was apparent in the area and the resident allowed Gormley inside to check for leaking gas. The officer located Ring in a bedroom of the dwelling filled with a strong odor of the signature additive for natural gas, according to police reports. The officer subsequently located a gas meter in the room that National Grid reported to be stolen from an active gas service at a vacant property at 36 Wilcox St.
After placing Ring under arrest, Gormley sent firefighters and rescue personnel to 36 Wilcox St. to check the property for leaking gas.
The line the meter had been taken from was leaking gas and was sealed by the National Grid employee, Gormley reported.
The officer's investigation found that locks installed by National Grid on its gas line valves had been cut, allowing the metering equipment to be removed.
The investigators also found that all the copper piping in 36 Wilcox St. had been removed and possibly sold for its scrap value.
The apartment at 47 Paradis Ave. had had its gas service shut off but Gormley reported finding the gas heating radiators warm upon his arrival at the property. Police allege Ring removed the stolen gas meter attached to lines in the basement after learning investigators were at the property and placed it in the bedroom where it was found partially-covered by a piece of cloth and a jacket.
Ring was charged with larceny over $500 and receiving stolen goods, both felonies, and misdemeanor charges of interfering with gas or electric services and bypassing gas or electric meters. He was also wanted on two warrants from the District Court, police said. Ring was held at the station pending a bail hearing.