Florida Police Arrest Two Men Allegedly Attempting to Steal Utility Pole

Police in Jacksonville, Florida, arrested two men for allegedly attempting to steal a utility pole used as a traffic light after Hurricane Irma.

WFTV reports that someone witnessed the two suspects load the pole on top of an SUV Wednesday, two days after Irma ravaged Jacksonville.

A police officer heard over the radio that two shirtless men had been loading the pole on the roof of a gray Kia Sorento, according to a police report.

The officer noticed a traffic light pole had been missing from an area on a bridge and spotted the Kia heading eastbound with the pole on its roof.

He pulled the Kia over for a traffic stop before taking Victor Walter Apeler, 46, and Blake Lee Waller, 42, into custody.

Authorities estimate the pole’s value to be $2,500.

Apeler allegedly told officers he moved the pole because it was on the ground in the way of traffic.

Both Apeler and Waller were charged with grand theft.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office posted a photo of the handcuffed suspects and the pole on Twitter, and it has gone viral:

The photo also shows that a flag made of T-shirts had been attached to the end of the pole for safety.

It is unclear what the alleged looters intended to use the utility pole for, and Twitter users wondered why they would steal such a thing.

“A pole like that will draw questions when offered for recycling,” one Twitter user noted.

At least 32 people had been arrested for looting in Florida after Irma pummeled the state.


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