Kaveh Kamooneh ran afoul of the law on a Saturday last month when a Chamblee police officer showed up about 20 minutes after he cavalierly plugged his Nissan Leaf into an outlet at Chamblee Middle School.
"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-TV, Atlanta.
Eleven days later, Kamooneh was arrested on a misdemeanor theft charge and he wound up spending about 15 hours in the DeKalb County Jail, the TV station said records show.
Don Francis of the electric vehicle advocacy group Clean Cities Atlanta estimates the car drew about 5 cents of electricity.
"I'm not sure how much electricity he stole," Chamblee police Sgt. Ernesto Ford acknowledged while stressing the value wasn't the point. "He broke the law. He stole something that wasn't his."
Ford, who followed up the initial officer's report, said he obtained an arrest warrant after determining Kamooneh didn't have school officials' permission to plug in his car. It apparently didn't help that not only didn't he have permission, but he'd had previous run-ins with school officials and he wasn't contrite when talking to the officer who spotted his infraction, WXIA-TV said.
The TV station said a DeKalb County School District spokesman issued a statement Wednesday saying school officials were cooperating with the investigation.
Chamblee City Manager and Police Chief Marc Johnson said the initial incident report "gives a good indication of how difficult and argumentative the individual was to deal with."
"He made no attempt to apologize or simply say oops and he wouldn't do it again," Johnson said in a statement. "Instead he continued being argumentative, acknowledged he did not have permission and then accused the officer of having damaged his car door.
"The officer had no way of knowing how much power had been consumed, how much it cost nor how long it had been charging."
It was during Ford's follow-up investigation that he was told Kamooneh did not have permission to use the power outlet and that he had previously been told he was not allowed on the school tennis courts without permission "apparently due to his interfering with the use of the tennis courts previously during school hours."