"A theft is a theft."
These are words that many a lawyer has used to justify condemning a thief to a sentence in the clink.
They are also the words of a police officer in Chamblee, Ga., after a man was caught in the alleged commission of a heinous crime.
Kaveh Kamooneh partook of 5 cents' worth of electricity that wasn't strictly his. As WXIA reports, Kamooneh was at Chamblee Middle School, where his 11-year-old son was gracing the tennis courts.
Perhaps the tennis practice was electric and this sparked Kamooneh to remember that his Nissan Leaf needed a little charge. He had some errands to do on the way home.
He spotted an external socket near the courts and availed himself of a little electricity. He spent 20 minutes charging his Leaf with nutrients.
When he got back inside his car, there was a strange man already there. He happened to be a policeman. This was not a happy policeman.
He informed Kamooneh that his charging would lead to charges for theft.
A warrant was issued and he received a visit at home from local lawmen. He was arrested for stealing electricity from the county without permission and spent 15 hours in jail.
"I think the fact that it's an electric car is irrelevant," Chamblee police Sergeant Ernesto Ford told WXIA-TV.
"I don't agree that every taking without consent is theft," Kamooneh told WXIA-TV. He explained that it's not as if anyone drinking from a spigot would be arrested.
"Cell phones, laptops are regularly charged without consent in public places or commercial places," he continued.
Kamooneh says he's going to fight the criminal charges, and many might understand this.
You might imagine that the costs of the police's time and other administrative machinations might exceed 5 cents.
Might it not have been wiser to have a chat with Kamooneh and the school authorities and decide what the policy for charging your Leaf ought to be?
But perhaps the prospect of a court case is more enticing. I can imagine Nancy Grace intoning night after night about morality, education, and electricity.
I can imagine sides being taken and daggers being drawn. Will some wag suggest the electric chair?
Will Kamooneh ask for other charges to be included? He admits this isn't the first time he's partaken of a public socket.
This could run and run a lot further than 5 cents of electricity will take you.