Agreed. The line is not well defined, and it is ludicrous that with those ambiguities (why exactly is his car different from a phone, or a laptop?) the police would go to his home at dinner time to arrest him days later.
They intentionally arrested him at 8p. A time when it's hard to get paperwork/representation/hearing, and thus chose that he be forced to jail overnight. Jail overnight! Not for drunken driving, not for violence or endangerment, for an ill-defined "theft". Why would that be a reasonable course of action? If the police picked up someone over a week later for a night in jail for a stolen *anything* with small value, everyone would likely see agenda/corruption driving the decision.
Would they have done that if I plugged in my laptop? My phone? Is this outlet only for maintenance's use? If so, why isn't it secured against this "theft", tampering, or adolescent darwin-award experimentation? If it's for student or community use, why is this a problem?
Is this school private or public? What rights does he have as a student's parent vs. a student vs. anyone else? Could we expect that if one of the faculty charged their phone there, that they too would spend a night in jail?
I suspect it's got a lot to do with politics and a regional dislike of environmentalists or liberals. I'd be very happy to learn otherwise, because the police selectively seeking punitive punishment for what materials goods you possess, and what they infer those goods mean about you is not a great direction for us to be heading.