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Nissan Leaf Owner Steals Electricity, Gets 15 Hours in Jail

Man uses school outlet to charge car; public charger half a mile away.

by on Dec.05, 2013

Charging up the Leaf is simple and a man in suburban Atlanta was recently arrested for theft because he used a public outlet without permission.

In metro Atlanta, five cents can get you 15 hours behind bars.

That was the hard lesson that Kaveh Kamooneh learned last month after he was arrested for theft. What did he steal? Five cents worth of electricity.

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While watching his 11-year-old son play tennis, Kamooneh decided to charge his Nissan Leaf using an outlet near the courts at the school where his son was playing.

Shortly after plugging in, a Chamblee, Ga. police officer rolled up with a few questions about what he was doing.

“He said that he was going to charge me with theft by taking because I was taking power, electricity from the school,” Kamooneh told WXIA, an Atlanta television station.

Kamooneh says he had charged his car for twenty minutes, which is about a nickel’s worth of electricity, according to Clean Cities Atlanta, an electric vehicle advocacy group.

However, the value of what was stolen was not at issue, but the fact that Kamooneh had not secured permission from the school to use the outlets was. Eleven days later, he was arrested and held for 15 hours before being released.

(Mitsubishi slashes prices on its i-MiEV. For more, Click Here.)

“I think that it’s an electric car is not relevant,” said Chamblee police Sergeant Ernesto Ford. “I think what’s relevant here is this man took something that was not his.”

Kamooneh’s dilemma is not an uncommon one for EV owners: where to get a charge if away from home and no public charging station is available. There are only about 6,800 public charging stations nationwide.

(Click Here for Carlos Ghosn’s plans about electric vehicle goals.)

While Kamooneh appears to be a sympathetic figure here, he did have options. The school is surrounded by homes, perhaps he could have asked a neighbor or he could have gone to the public charging station at Capital City Nissan…in Chamblee, Ga., which is half a mile away.

In fact, according to, there are eight public charging stations within five miles of the middle school and three residential units within two miles.

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5 Responses to “Nissan Leaf Owner Steals Electricity, Gets 15 Hours in Jail”

  1. Panmondiale says:

    All you need to know about this story is contained in the name of the alleged thief. Had it been “Bob Smith” or “Billy Joe Thompson” there would be no story, because the officer wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But Kaveh Kamooneh? If you’re a Chamblee, GA police officer, you just know that a guy with a name like that (who I would bet has “dark” skin) has GOT to be guilty of something. And held for FIFTEEN hours for stealing a nickel’s worth of electricty? Yeah, that’s “justice” alright – Georgia style.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      A chewing out, perhaps? A bill for a nickel and some outlandish fee? Perhaps. But the city’s actions are disproportionate beyond all possible behavior. Yes, I know about the “broken window” theory of police enforcement, but this goes so far beyond the pale it is impossible to remotely accept, never mind support.

      Paul E.

  2. Michael Strong says:


    Seems unlikely the officer knew the man’s name when he was dispatched to the scene. Chamblee isn’t the middle of nowhere, it’s an Atlanta suburb and a fairly affluent one at that. It wasn’t Roscoe P. Coltrane running out there to arrest him.

    I’d agree that arresting him is extreme, I’m certain a ticket would have sufficed. That said, the guy had other options to charge his vehicle. Clearly this is something that is going to have be addressed by local governments in the future.

  3. Jorge M. says:

    Actually I’m glad he was arrested and disappointed he was fined $500 which is basically the minimum for any infraction these days. Being held 15 hours is hardly any punishment.

    Crime has become an almost a daily occurance for many people so they have become oblivious to it.

    This guy knew full well he was stealing electricity. He could have called a tow truck if his car wouldn’t run but that was not the case. He figured he’d allow the school to pay for the electricity instead of him paying for it and he got caught. It’s no different than bypassing the electric meter at your home or work so you can steal electricity.

  4. Jorge M. says:

    Can’t edit -

    My comment should read “…disappointed that he was NOT fined $500…”