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Leaf owner jailed for stealing a charge

2013-12-06 12:12

'JUICE THIEF': Kaveh Kamooneh from Georgia, US, was arrested and spent 15 hours in jail for charging his car without permission at a school. Image: YouTube

A man has been arrested for trying to charge a Nissan Leaf battery car for free from a socket at a US school - while playing tennis free on the school courts. Could it happen in SA?

GEORGIA, United States – In South Africa we hear of people stealing fuel out of vehicles, now with the country’s first electric car starting to find its home with local owners, will we see owners stealing electricity too?

Nissan Leaf owner steals electricity VIDEO

First thoughts would be if anyone can afford a Nissan Leaf at the cost of R446 000, surely they can afford to buy electricity? Also, they’re most likely to have some sort of energy-saving applications in their homes too.

But, this is South Africa and here our power supplier is Eskom. (Eish!) Even if owners can afford electricity, what if there’s load-shedding or power cuts and owners just are not able to charge their car. What then if they drive to a known external power supply and just ‘plug in’ to charge up enough to be able to drive home?


Nissan SA’s spokesperson says should any customers need to charge their Leaf - other than in the comfort of their home or office - all seven dedicated Nissan Leaf dealers have free charging facilities. There are also free quick-charge points at Eskom offices or the department of environmental affairs.

According to 11alive.com, Kaveh Kamooneh drove his Nissan Leaf to Chamblee Middle School in Georgio, US  and did just that, using an exterior outlet at the school.

But his free charge came at a price. He had been charging his Leaf for a few minutes when a  Chamblee police officer appeared. Kamooneh claimed: "He said that he was going to charge me with theft because I was taking electricity from the school."

The news agency said Kamooneh claimed to have charged his car for 20 minutes, drawing about five cents-worth of "juice". 11Live reported that Don Francis of Clean Cities Atlanta, an electric vehicle advocacy group, said the estimate of 5 cents was accurate.

Chamblee police Sergeant Ernesto Ford told the news site: "I'm not sure how much electricity he stole, but it doesn't matter, he broke the law. He stole something that wasn't his."

Ford says the officer should have arrested Kamooneh on the spot but instead filed a police report. Only 11 days later had two deputies showed up Kamooneh’s home  in Decatur to arrest him.


Ford said he sought the arrest warrant after determining that school officials hadn't given Kamooneh permission to plug in his car and that the Chamblee police also acted without asking school officials if they wanted to prosecute the alleged theft of electricity.

The result was more than 15 hours in the DeKalb County Jail for Kamooneh for plugging his car into a school's electrical outlet.

Kamooneh said: "When I got there, there was nobody there. It was a Saturday morning."

Ford said: "A theft is a theft.” He added that he would “absolutely" arrest Kamooneh again if the offence were repeated.

DeKalb County School District spokesman Quinn Hudson released a statement saying the school system "has co-operated in the investigation and will continue to do so."
Read more on:    nissan  |  georgia  |  electric car  |  leaf  |  arrest

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