Post-Irma arrests accuse 2 of stealing a light pole

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Sheriff’s officials in Florida say two men are accused of trying to steal a $2,500 utility pole days after Hurricane Irma caused severe flooding in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s officials say 42-year-old Blake Lee Waller and 46-year-old Victor Walter Apeler were arrested on grand theft charges Wednesday after someone reported seeing them load the pole onto a sports utility vehicle.

A police report says an officer noticed a light pole missing from an area on top of a bridge and then spotted a vehicle driving with the pole on top. He stopped the vehicle and arrested the men.

The report says Apeler told investigators he was moving the pole because it was on the ground so close to traffic lanes. A database search found Apeler had 72 scrap metal-related transactions for recycling since January.

A picture of the shirtless men sitting handcuffed on the sidewalk quickly drew attention on the sheriff’s office Twitter feed.

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