FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The president of a Post Road heating and plumbing business was arrested Thursday on charges of using dangerous, illegal lines to steal thousands of dollars worth of natural gas after Southern Connecticut Gas Co. shut off his home’s line for failure to pay outstanding bills, police said.
Todd Flanagan, 45, of High Meadow Road, Southport, was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree larceny and risk of injury to a minor, police said.
Flanagan is the president of Ray Flanagan Heating & Plumbing, a business started by his grandfather in 1958.
Police reports show Flanagan has had a longstanding dispute with the gas company, which accused him of breaking locks on his home’s gas meter and eventually adding illegal bypass piping to keep gas flowing to his home after it had been cut off.
In June, the gas company claimed Flanagan owed $9,751.97, which led to the most recent shutoff, police said.
The gas company also contended Flanagan had not paid his gas bill from August 2012 through January 2015, police said.
A collection agency was attending to the case until the SCGC found gas flowing to the home through illegal piping early this year, making it a criminal matter in their eyes, police said.
When questioned, Flanagan claimed he never saw gas bills until he received one for more than $4,000, which he thought was exorbitant, police said.
He told officers he was running his furnace off propane tanks during the colder months and had no knowledge of the bypass piping connected to his home, police said. He did admit that, given his background in heating, he did know how to install such piping, police said.
On July 21, 2017, Flanagan paid SCGC $9,770, but the gas company wanted to pursue charges, police said.
Details on Flanagan’s bond were not available Monday, but he is expected in court on Sept. 21.
Flanagan took over his family's business in 1995, after his father's untimely death. The company serves customers in Fairfield and New Haven counties.
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