Man Arrested For 'Stealing' $0.05 Of Electricity To Charge His CarS

Electric car owners know firsthand about range anxiety and the times when you need just a little more juice to make sure you can get where you need to go. One Nissan Leaf owner didn't think he was hurting anyone by plugging his car in for just 20 minutes at a public electrical outlet. Turns out, you can go to jail for it.

According to WXIA of Atlanta, Chamblee, Georgia resident Kaveh Kamooneh thought it was totally fine to charge his car using a 110-volt outlet outside of the middle school tennis courts one Saturday last month, where he was watching his son play.

Someone, however, didn't think it was OK, and reported Kamooneh to the police. Chamblee Police said he couldn't plug his car in without permission from the school. Ten days later, though, police showed up at his house and charged Kamooneh with theft by taking without consent.

"A theft is a theft," Sgt. Ernesto Ford of the Chamblee Police said, and that the incident "is about someone who's taking something that's not theirs without permission."

Ford told WXIA he'd arrest Kamooneh again if he stole electricity and the fact he was driving an electric car is "irrelevant."

Kamooneh estimates that he stole about 4-5 cents worth of electricity in the 20 minutes his Leaf was plugged in, and equates it with people who plug their phones or computers into outlets in public places without paying. He says he's meeting with lawyers to fight the charge.

Sure, it's reasonable that the school might not have wanted lots of people charging their cars for free on a regular basis. But if this guy's charge really only took a tiny amount of electricity, shouldn't he have just received a slap on the wrist? This is an absurd arrest that makes the case for public charging stations stronger.

Thanks for the tip, Eamon!

Image credit: WXIA-TV