Cops arrested a Leaf electric car owner last week for allegedly stealing four cents worth of energy from an outdoor outlet at a middle school in Chamblee, Ga.
Kaveh Kamooneh plugged his Nissan Leaf into the exterior outlet for about 20 minutes while taking tennis lessons on courts belonging to the school. Moments later a Police officer approached him and instructed him to unplug the car while informing him that he was committing theft, local NBC affiliate 11Alive.com reported
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"He said that he was going to charge me with theft by taking because I was taking power, electricity from the school," Kamooneh told 11Alive.com.
Kamooneh acknowledged that he did not receive permission from the school to use its outlet and estimated that he had taken about five cents worth of energy. Georgia Power later looked into the matter and concluded that Kamooneh's alleged theft actually amounted to four cents worth of energy.
Eleven days after the incident, which occurred in November, Kamooneh was jailed for 15 hours on the charge of theft.
Kamooneh told the NBC affiliate that he frequently plugs into area electrical outlets to recharge his Leaf, saying, "normally I mean the value is so little that you don't typically ask permission in these cases."
Chamblee Police Sergeant Ernesto Ford defended his police officer's actions, saying, "a theft is a theft."
"I'm not sure how much electricity he stole," Ford told the NBC affiliate. "He broke the law. He stole something that wasn't his."
The Dekalb School District supported the police department's decision.
In a press release on Wednesday DeKalb County School District spokesman Quinn Hudson said that the school system "has cooperated in the investigation and will continue to do so."
In a statement released Wednesday night, Chamblee City Manager and Police Chief Marc Johnson said that Kamooneh was "difficult and argumentative" when first confronted by the police officer.
"He made no attempt to apologize or simply say oops. Instead he continued being argumentative. And then accused the officer of having damaged his car door," Johnson said.
The officer, who was made aware of the illegal activity by an anonymous 9-11 call, initially attempted to open the vehicle to find out who it belonged to, considering Kamooneh was on the tennis courts when he arrived.
"Given the uncooperative attitude and accusations of damage to his vehicle, the officer chose to document the incident on an incident report," Johnson added. "The report was listed as misdemeanor theft by taking. The officer had no way of knowing how much power had been consumed, how much it cost nor how long it had been charging."
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