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]