Chamblee, Ga. (CBS ATLANTA) — A Georgia man was arrested and charged with the theft of about 5 cents worth of electricity after plugging his electric car into an exterior outlet at his son’s school while the 11-year-old was at tennis practice.
Within minutes of plugging his electric Nissan Leaf into Chamblee High School, Kaveh Kamooneh said he looked over from his son’s tennis practice to notice a police officer sitting inside his vehicle, reports WXIA-TV.
“I noticed that somebody was in my car,” said Kamooneh. “I walked over and it was a Chamblee police officer who then informed me that he was about to arrest me or at least charge me with theft.”
Kamooneh said he charged his car for about 20 minutes from the exterior outlet – drawing at most 5 cents, or half of 1 kilowatt, worth of electricity. Don Francis of Clean Cities Atlanta, an electric vehicle advocacy group, told WXIA-TV the estimate of 5 cents is accurate.
Chamblee police said it was simply a matter of principle.
“I’m not sure how much electricity he stole,” Chamblee Police Sgt. Ernesto Ford told WXIA.
Ford added it doesn’t matter. “He broke the law. He stole something that wasn’t his.”
“A theft is a theft,” he said.
Eleven days after the incident, deputies showed up at Kamooneh’s house last week and arrested him for “theft by taking without consent.”
Kamooneh said he tried to reason with police by comparing the incident to someone taking a drink from a garden hose or charging a cell phone or laptop at a public place.
Ford said Kamooneh should have been arrested on the spot, and that police sought the warrant after determining that school officials had given him no consent to charge his car.
Ford said school officials had not asked them to press charges or arrest Kamooneh, and that if such an incident were to happen again they would take the same course of action against this type of theft.