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Woman arrested for refusing to allow utility to install ‘smart meter’

The Blaze

Posted 1/25/2013

Jennifer Stahl has been a strong advocate against the smart meter program in Naperville, Ill., for the last two years. The issue came to a head Wednesday afternoon when she was arrested while refusing to let the utility workers install the controversial device.

“I was protecting my property,” Stahl said in an interview with TheBlaze Thursday afternoon. “I felt my emotion was like a momma bear protecting her babies.”

Stahl was at a friend’s house when she received the call from her husband that the utility workers had arrived. She was home within 15 minutes and saw they were at a neighbor’s house. Her neighbors were not home, but they had signs stating they did not permit the new meter to be installed.

Stahl said she waited on her porch for the workers to arrive at her house. When they did, she refused them access to her backyard through her locked gate. The police — including the police supervisor, a sergeant — were called. Stahl said the sergeant explained the workers had authorization to access the meter, but Stahl stood her ground saying she didn’t approve it. The sergeant continued to try and convince Stahl to comply and said if she didn’t, he’d arrest her.

“The city has always had and maintains the right to access our equipment, and today we were simply exercising that right,” City Manager Doug Kreiger told the Chicago Tribune, which reported Wednesday’s events.

The lock on Stahl’s fence was cut, and when Stahl wouldn’t step away from the meter, she was lead away by an officer, cuffed and waited for a marked squad car to arrive to take her to the department. When asked why she was being arrested, she was told it was for interfering with a police officer.

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