Electric Car Owner Arrested For Stealing 5 Cents' Worth Of Power

"A theft is a theft."

There's no such thing as a free lunch, or free electricity. That's the lesson Kaveh Kamooneh, the owner of a Nissan Leaf electric car, is learning after spending 15 hours in jail for plugging his car into a public school's outlet without asking.

Kamooneh was picking his son up from tennis practice at Chamblee Middle School in Chamblee, Ga., when he plugged his Nissan Leaf into a 110-volt external outlet and let it charge "for about 20 minutes," he says. A little more than a week later, cops showed up and arrested Kamooneh, charging him with stealing from the county.

The estimated worth of that stolen electricity? About five cents. But Sergeant Ernesto Ford of the Chamblee Police Department says what Kamooneh was stealing is irrelevant. "A theft is a theft," he told Atlanta's Channel 11 News. Kamooneh plans to fight the criminal charges.

As electric cars become more ubiquitous, we will continue to see greater demand for charging stations. But for now, there continues to be a lack of charging infrastructure in the U.S., which could lead to more "thefts" like these. Perhaps other cities should take notes from New York, which plans to create chargers that look like manholes by 2014. And here's a handy guide to finding charging stations, so you don't end up in jail.

[Image: Flickr user WSDOT]

Add New Comment

1580 Comments

  • Steve7777777

    This arrogant idiot should have first gone to the school office and ASKED if it was possible to plug his car in to their outlet!! Most likely they would have made arrangements for him to do it, but he took it upon himself to just plug in without getting permission, and that is theft and he got what he deserved... Now maybe he has learned his lesson!!

  • Ecossais

    5 cents or $500. Nothing to discuss.
    Plugging into an outlet other than one on which you pay the electric bill is theft.
    What if your neighbor has an electric car and plugs into an outlet in your car port or yard?

  • Timothy Schofield

    schools steal from us every year by raising school taxes, are they going to jail too?

  • corners1

    There's actually more to the story. This wasn't the guy's first time doing this. He has been told to stop, but he's been ignoring the requests. And when the cop showed up to talk to the guy, the guy was biligerant, so he was arrested.

  • Tightenyourbelt

    Steal $0.05 and go to jail. Steal $5 billion and get a slap on the wrist. Seems about right. <sarc></sarc>

  • Terry Thomas Photos

    I live in Chamblee. Was there a sign at the outlet saying usage was restricted?
    I am a photographer. If I plug one of my strobe lights into an outlet while photographing a basketball game will I be arrested?

    BTW, in the closest Costco to Chamblee at one time there were electric recharging stations. Those were removed about 10 years ago. Why?

    Georgia Power built a mirror array on a large plot of land south of Atlanta. The mirrors followed the sun to bounce light into a central facility that created electricity. I contacted the media folks at Georgia Power asking permission to go there to create stock photographs. The person said I could not do that because they had demolished the facility! Paid for by customers, up and running, producing electricity in a totally green manner yet they decided to knock it down! Go figure.

    Terry Thomas...
    the photographer
    Chamblee, Georgia USA
    http://www.TerryThomasPhotos.c...

  • Mister brain teaser

    The question is why the pea brained designers don't put 250W worth of solar cells in the cars roof tops ...... Opps they cant put a power meter on the sun ! how stupid of me ! that is why no one funds Rotoverter technology for cars !
    Ark Research 2013

  • Marc Heffner

    Gotta draw the line somewhere. Charging your mobile phone is one thing (if you actually work at the school). Charging your car is quite another. If he does it and gets away with it, somebody else is going to do it too. Can't have that.

  • Andrew Page

    Defense, the plug was not locked up, it was turned on and no sign was posted that said "for facilities personnel only." Clearly inviting its use.

  • corners1

    Do you have a similar sign outside your house? If not, is it OK for your neighbors to use your outside sockets and water their grass from your spigot?

  • Wyrdless

    So they spent thousands of dollars on police, lawyers, jail time, judges, support staff and it took them a week to investigate this, all over $0.05?

    They could have just issued him a $50 fine or something... I don't know... reasonable or in line with common sense...

    Next time they want to raise your property taxes for more police so you can be "safe" just remember they are squandering the money on crap like this, and army surplus equipment they don't need.

    Cops aren't there to keep you safe or promote justice. they are there to meet their quota and collect taxes.

  • Freeland_Dave

    Ah give him a break folks, He's probably just one of many stupefied Americans that do not comprehend the definition of the word illegal, as in illegal aliens, which is not the topic of conversation but illustrates the point exactly.

    It's illegal to steal someone else property regardless if it's a penny or billions of dollars. When you get busted for driving 26 MPH in a 25 MPH school zone, have you broken the law? Should you be allowed to get away with it when others don't?

    Good grief, don't take things that don't belong to you and if you run afoul of existing law don't complain about it. No one forced you to break the law so take your medicine like a man instead of a sniveling child. And just because someone else did it and got away with it doesn't make it legal or give you quarter to do the same.

  • throwweight

    Who gets busted for driving 36 in a 35 zone? Have you broken the law at 1 over? Yes. But ask any cop--when he's out collecting taxes, er, I mean, working "community traffic safety enforcement to save lives and keep your children safe and America Free", he will almost never stop a car for doing 1 over or 2 over. While it varies a lot, almost no cop will stop you until you hit at least 5 over and most won't until you hit 10 over. Some won't till you hit 15. Even then they don't stop everybody (only a fraction) and when they do stop someone they often just give warnings. So 5 cents of electrons from a publicly owned, publicly accessible outlet with no sign saying "official use only," do we jail the guy? or do we say, "Hey stupid, you can't use that outlet!" What is the sane, the civilized thing to do?

    Illegal parking--it's a kind of parking space theft, isn't it? Ever get a parking ticket? Every go to jail for parking? In my state, you can go to jail for up to 15 to 90 days for the most basic of parking offenses. While I'm sure some people have gotten jail for it, it almost never happens. Why? Because everyone knows it's stupid. If you were caught parking illegally in my state (over-stayed your meter to the tune of 5 cents, let's say) have you broken the law? Sure. Then suppose Judge Allen decided to give you merely 5 days in jail (much less than the max) would you delude yourself into thinking this was a fair and rational sentence? Or would you (correctly) observe that sending you to jail for running your meter over by 5 cents is, while technically legal, totally STUPID. That's why most judges do not give jail for parking in my state and most DA's would never concision it. They know our system should avoid such ineffable stupidities.

  • politicianssuck

    if a NEA teachers comes to a student's home; are they charged for the electricity used while they were at the home? oops, excuse me, my error....NEA teachers are not allowed and are discouraged from interacting with students parents