Man sleeps in car to stay warm; admits to MLGW theft

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A man we'll call "James" will be sleeping in his car this week because of the cold.

"It lets back like this," James showed Action News 5 on Monday evening as he reclined in the front passenger seat.

James said it's much warmer than the South Memphis apartment he rents for $200 a month.

"I leave the car running," he said.

James cracks one of the windows to keep the fumes from getting to him.

"I get up when it get too hot in here and cut it off until it starts getting cold," he said.

Action News 5 agreed not to use James's last name because he admits to stealing services from MLGW.  In fact, the utility cut him off last year because of the theft.

"I know I'm wrong," he said.

James had a wire strung from a nearby utility pole to a meter on the house that actually belongs somewhere else.

"If they take me to court or to jail, there's nothing I can do," he said.

The 79-year-old ex-janitor claims he's unable to work and his Social Security is not enough to cover the bills, which include the $1,400 he currently owes MLGW.

Friends like James Todd stop by to help see him through.

"I got to stick with him," Todd said.  "That's call I can say.  He's an old man."

The "old man" only has his car and a stiff drink to help him fight the "deep freeze."

James is regretful about the theft.  But, again, he claims he had no choice.  Meanwhile, a spokesman from MLGW tells us the utility will only cut service when it's this cold in cases of theft.

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