UPDATE: I watched the serviceman from the gas company reconnect my gas service. I discovered something(s) interesting.
Not only had they gone to the simple trouble of turning the supply valve before the meter to the OFF position and locking it, they had also temporarily loosened up the gas meter and had put a PLUG in the exit side of the meter! THEN after he had put everything back together and checked it for leaks, he painted the entire piping from where it exits and enters the ground on each side of the meter all the way back to the meter. I asked him why they did that (to a line the looked freshly painted already) and he said it was for corrosion prevention. But I think it is also a measure to check for tampering with the piping connections (!) in the future.