German police drop iBook power rustling charge

Student who plugged-in in public walks free

A 23-year-old German arrested last year for plugging his laptop into a railway station power socket will not be prosecuted, the authorities this week confirmed.

Jan Michael Ihl faced the full weight of the law for stealing electricity valued at €0.002 from the terminus in Kassel when he connected his Apple iBook computer. The travelling Greenpeace activist was apparently low on battery power and fired up the laptop to find the address of his hostel.

Federal police swooped and slapped the cuffs on Ihl, initially on suspicion of having lifted the machine. The charge was subsequently altered to stealing power from the railway operator.

Ihl is not the first voltage-rustler to face an appearance before the beak. In Japan last year, a 38-year-old was caught red-handed after unplugging a business' neon sign and using the socket to recharge his mobile phone. And a 22-year-old student was charged for disconnecting a vending machine in order to power his portable stereo. Both men are estimated to have stolen around $0.0094 worth of electricity. ®

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