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Nissan Leaf driver charged with stealing five cents worth of electricity

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An electric car owner in Georgia is all charged up after spending the night in jail.

One Saturday in November, Kaveh Kamooneh drove his Nissan Leaf to the Chamblee Middle School near Atlanta to pick up his son from tennis practice, plugging the car in to of the school’s electrical outlets in order to charge its battery while he left it parked, WXIA reports.

When he returned to the vehicle about 20 minutes later, a police officer was waiting by it and told Kamooneh that he was going to charge him with theft of the electricity, but let him leave the scene.

Kamooneh estimates that he used about five cents worth of power while the car was plugged-in.

Eleven days later two police officers showed up at Kamooneh’s home to arrest him for “theft by taking without consent.” He then spent over 15 hours in the DeKalb County jail while being processed.

Chamblee police Sergeant Ernesto Ford told WXIA that he decided to pursue the arrest warrant after investigators determined that Kamooneh didn’t get permission from the school to use the outlet.

“A theft is a theft,” Ford said.

Kamooneh plans to fight the charges, arguing that “not all takings are theft.” He compares his case to drinking water from a school spigot, or plugging a cell phone into an outlet without permission, and says that no records exist of anyone being charged with theft for either activity in the jurisdiction.

In the meantime, electric car owners take note: Ford says he’d “absolutely” file charges again under the same circumstances.

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