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Electric car owner arrested for ‘stealing’ 5 cents of electricity

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Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

An electric car owner has been arrested and detained for 15 hours for "stealing" around 5 cents worth of electricity from a middle school. Kaveh Kamooneh plugged an extension cable from his Nissan Leaf into an exterior outlet at Chamblee Middle School in Georgia while watching his 11-year-old son play tennis. Minutes later, a Chamblee police officer appeared and warned him that he would be charged for theft for taking electricity from the school. Kamooneh only charged his vehicle for 20 minutes, but he was arrested 11 days later after the initial officer filed a report and sought an arrest warrant.

Kamooneh hadn’t sought permission from the school to charge his car, and Chamblee Police claim he had previously been advised he was not allowed on the school tennis courts without permission. In an interview with Atlanta's Channel 11 News, Kamooneh likens his charging to plugging in a cellphone at a coffee shop. "People charge laptops or cell phones at public outlets all the time, and no one's ever been arrested for that," says Kamooneh. Chamblee Police Sergeant Ernesto Ford is sticking by the arrest, noting that "a theft is a theft," but Kamooneh plans to fight the charges. While electric cars are slowly going mainstream, the case does highlight the gray areas around simply plugging in at outlets without consent, common-sense policing, and the need for more free charging points.