Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Shaun Fawster, Homeless, Arrested for Charging Cell Phone

Shaun Fawster, a homeless man from Bangor, Maine, was arrested last weekend after falling prey to his basic electrical needs.

Local police scouring the downtown area reportedly located him just after midnight last Saturday, hovering over a hidden outdoor electrical plug that belonged to a local business.

Like a typical technology-obsessed American, he was allegedly charging his two cell phones.

And now he's been charged with theft of services, as well as with carrying a concealed weapon, as police found a knife tucked into his shirt.

If you're wondering why a homeless man has two cell phones, just remember that everyone is entitled to a bit of overindulgence now and again.

However, if you're curious about the theft of services charge, it's a specific type of larceny usually defined as the taking of valuable services by deception, force, or other unlawful means.

Services are non-tangible items, such as a taxi ride, dry cleaning, hotel accommodations, and Internet access, which have a monetary value. They can often be categorized as labor, professional skills, use of equipment, use of space, admission into a venue, and utilities.

When a person receives the benefits of these services, knows that they are expected to pay, and unlawfully does not pay, it is considered theft.

Ignoring the weapons charge, because Maine specifically includes public utilities and electricity in its definition of "services," there's really no debate about whether Shaun Fawster broke the law if it's true that he tried to charge his cell phones, and it actually worked.

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