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US vs Carlos G.R. No.

6295, 21 Phil 543 September 1, 1911 FACTS: Ignacio Carlos has been a consumer of electricity furnished by the Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company for a building containing the residence of the accused and 3 other residences. Believing that more light is consumed than what is shown in the meter installed, the company installed an additional meter on the pole outside Carloss house to compare the actual consumption. They found out that Carlos used a jumper. Further, a jumper was found in a drawer of a small cabinet in the room of the defendants house where the meter was installed. In the absence of any explanation for his possession of said device, the presumption raised was that Carlos was the owner of the device whose only use was to deflect the flow of electricity, causing loss to the Meralco of over 2000 kilowatts of current. Accused of theft, Carloss defense was that electricity was an unknown force, not a fluid, and being intangible, could not be the object of theft. ISSUE: Whether the court erred in declaring that electricity can be the object of theft. HELD: While electric current is not a fluid, still, its manifestations and effects like those of gas may be seen and felt. The true test of what may be stolen is not whether it is corporeal or incorporeal, but whether, being possessed of value, a person other than the owner may appropriate the same. Electricity, like gas, is a valuable merchandise and may thus be stolen. (See also U.S. v. Tambunting, 41 Phil. 364). The court further ruled that electricity, the same as gas, is a valuable article of merchandise, bought and sold like other personal property and is capable of appropriation by another. It is also susceptible of being severed from a mass or larger quantity and of being transported from place to place. Hence, no error was committed by the trial court in holding that electricity is a subject of larceny.