UPDATE: See below
The owner of an all-electric Nissan Leaf got quite a shock last month when he was hauled to jail for stealing electricity to charge his car.
According to ABC News, police in Chamblee, Georgia received a complaint on Saturday, November 2 about an electric car that was plugged into an outlet at a local middle school. An officer investigated and discovered that, indeed, a Nissan Leaf owned by Kaveh Kamooneh was juicing up on school property.
Kamooneh told reporters that he was on school grounds so that his son could take a tennis lesson. When the instructor arrived, he told Kamooneh that he'd just seen a police officer inside the Leaf. Kamooneh walked to his vehicle and found an officer inside, and he also noticed that the car's charging cable had been unplugged from the school building.
And that's when things got ugly.
According to the officer's written report of the confrontation:
"I asked him why his vehicle was plugged into the power at the school. He told me that was an excepted [sic] practice and that I was making to [sic] much of it. I asked him if he has [sic] asked the Dekalb County school system if he could take the power. He told me that I did not ask if my patrol car can dirty the air -- did you? He says 'No you did not'."
Given how well sassmouth goes over with law enforcement agents, you can imagine what happened next. The report was filed, and several days later, officers showed up at Kamooneh's door with a warrant for his arrest. He was booked for misdemeanor theft and spent a total of 14.5 hours in police custody before being released on $150 bond.
The value of the electricity Kamooneh's car consumed during the brief time it was plugged in is likely about five cents.
Neither party wins this war.
Kamooneh is perhaps the bigger of the two losers: he broke the law by plugging his vehicle into the school's electrical outlet without permission. Though it's surely a minor offense -- no worse than people who charge their cell phones at power outlets in airports -- it's technically illegal.
And even though Kamooneh insists that the officer was very confrontational, the man should know better than to sass a police officer. Not only is it disrespectful to the underpaid men and women who patrol our streets and keep us safe, but it does nothing to defuse the situation. Instead, Kamooneh came off as a smug blowhard.
That said, the police suffered a black eye, too -- if only because they were forced to arrest someone for a laughably minor infraction. That doesn't play well for PR purposes.
Our colleagues at GreenCarReports have more on this story and on similar incidents involving electric cars and outlets in public places. As EVs and plug-in hybrids grow in popularity, we have a hunch that we'll see more of these stories in the future.
UPDATE: It appears that Kamooneh might've had it coming. Not only was he combative with the responding officer, but he'd had previous run-ins at the school, which might be why the police were called in the first place. And as it turns out, Kamooneh's account of waiting for his son to finish a tennis lesson may not be entirely true. According to reports, Kamooneh was the one playing tennis on the school's courts. If that's true, the inaccuracy casts some doubt on his side of the story.