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Man arrested for charging his phone on a London train

On a London Overground train, a power struggle.


Dylan Love


A guy needing to charge his phone got arrested, “de-arrested,” then arrested again in London for charging his phone in an outlet that didn’t belong to him.

An unattended electrical outlet doesn’t go too long nowadays without seeing a smartphone get plugged into it. It’s almost certainly why 45-year-old Robin Lee thought nothing of plugging his phone into an outlet while aboard public transportation in London, though the outlet was marked as being for “cleaners use only and not for public use.”

He was approached by an “overzealous” community support officer aboard the train to inform him that he was breaking the law, he told the Evening Standard. The train pulled into its next stop where some police boarded, and the community support officer told the cops that the man had been “abstracting electricity” and needed to be arrested.

British Transport police issued a statement on what happened. It reads in part that they responded to “a report of a man becoming aggressive when challenged by a [police community support officer] about his use of a plug socket onboard an Overground train. Shortly after 3:30 pm, a 45-year-old man from Islington was arrested on suspicion of abstracting electricity, for which he was de-arrested shortly after. He was further arrested for unacceptable behaviour and has been reported for this offence.”

Lee is predictably peeved at his legal entanglement, finding himself “incredulous” at all the bother over a simple charging of his phone. He tweeted a picture of his police report, though that tweet has since been deleted.

Electricity abstraction is indeed a crime, as outlined on the Crown Prosecution Service’s website. Lee faces a maximum penalty of five years for absconding with someone else’s electrons.

Crown Prosecution Service

H/T The Guardian | Photo via Evening Standard/Twitter

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