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Douglas Higbee: Homeless man arrested for stealing electricity to keep warm

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As the Polar Vortex of frigid temps blankets half the nation, the majority of us can retreat into our homes and crank the thermostats. Not so for Douglas Higbee, a 56-year-old itinerant Conn. man who calls his 1998 green minivan home.

According to AllVoices.com on Monday, Higbee was charged on Jan. 2 with sixth-degree larceny after police caught Higbee thieving electricity from an Advanced Auto Parts store on West Ave. in Stamford. Higbee used an extension cord to run electricity into his van at night, tapping into an outdoor plug of the store in an attempt to keep warm.

Stamford police Sgt. Robert Shawinsky said the manager from Advance Auto Parts called to report that a man was stealing the company's electricity. According to the complaint, Higbee had been warned a few times prior to the police being called.

Other business owners evidently also saw Higbee doing this at their locations, but never called authorities as they took pity on the homeless fellow trying to stay warm in sub zero temps.

Higbee said he usually “pulls the plug” before the auto parts manager arrives and opens at 7 a.m.

"He must have overslept," Shawinsky said.

Because his van was neither registered nor insured, police towed it away. It’s unclear where Higbee, who lost his home in a divorce, has been staying.

With record cold temps, what are your thoughts on the actions of the store owner? Higbee’s use of electricity overnight to run a small heater essentially amounted to only a few bucks each day, perhaps what one would give a freezing homeless man pandering on the streets. Other store owners looked the other way, knowing that if police were called, Higbee would be charged and possibly lose his van.

Leave your thoughts below.

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