Homeless man charges cell phone in park, jailed

A man in Sarasota, Fla., ends up in jail after being found at a public picnic shelter charging his cell phone.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
Can you control where the homeless charge their phones? CNET

It was quite a charge.

That's the thought that may cross a mind or two after hearing the story of 28-year-old Darren Kersey.

Kersey is homeless, but he has a cell phone.

A logistical issue for him is where to charge it. So, as the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has it, he went to the public picnic shelter in Gillespie Park. It has a charging station.

At 9:20 p.m. on Sunday, Sgt. Anthony Frangioni of the local police wasn't happy with Kersey's ingenuity. He arrested him for the "theft of city utilities."

Frangioni allegedly added on the arrest report that such theft "will not be tolerated during this bad economy."

Being homeless, Kersey didn't have $500 on him to bail himself out. So he spent the night in jail.

However, when he turned up in court, Judge Charles Williams tossed the case, unable to find any legal reason why Kersey was arrested. After all, this was a public charging station.

Sarasota' public charging stations serve the community in various ways. One lady charges her electric wheelchair at them.

Moreover, there are reportedly no signs on them that limit their use in any way.

The homeless say that cell phones are their only way to keep in touch with family or call 911 if they are in distress.

Even if they wanted to, how could the local authorities attempt to discriminate against those who have somewhere to sleep and those who don't?

Perhaps one day logging in by finger or facial recognition will be the norm for everything and everyone. Or perhaps, by then, all phones will be charged directly from the sun.