Joel Sher, 54, and his wife Holly, 52, own Evanger's Dog & Cat Food company, a high-end pet food company which has been featured on the Rachel Ray television show and other TV outlets, including CLTV. For the last several years, investigators have been looking into whether the couple had been stealing from Commonwealth Edison and Nicor, according to the Cook County state's attorney's office.
The couple not only tampered with a Nicor meter but built "a separate pipe to divert the flow of gas prior to reaching the meter," prosecutors said. "A two-way valve was inserted so that the gas flow could be redirected to the meter when inspections occurred by Nicor."
The Shers diverted electricity by tapping into main power lines. "Wires and fuses were attached to the high-voltage wires and then connected to the electric supply," prosecutors said.
Nicor said it was alerted by a former worker for the pet food company in December of 2008 that gas was being diverted to the property. In September of 2009, a company worker told ComEd how the couple was tapping into electricity, prosecutors said.
State's attorney spokesman Andy Conklin said the couple stole from the utilities simply because they could.
Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Web site describes the company as the "finest natural dog food company in the United States."
Bail was set at $250,000 for Joel Sher and $200,000 for in a hearing midday today.
If Holly Sher is released on bail, she will be allowed to travel to Orlando, Florida, for a trade show, and to Los Angeles for a Seder celebration for cats and dogs, according to the conditions of bail.
Article by Carolyn Rusin, Matthew Walberg