A first for Florida cops; shirtless looters nabbed making off with a power pole

[sharenow]

Amid reports of looting in the wake of Hurricane Irma, two men in Florida were caught in the act of actually trying to steal a power pole.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office tweeted a photo of the suspects and their very conspicuous utility pole on Wednesday.

The suspects, 42-year-old Blake Lee Waller and 46-year-old Victor Walter Apeler, apparently loaded the pole onto the top of their SUV, even attaching a T-shirt to the end for safety. An officer who heard the report and noticed a light pole missing from an area on top of the bridge, then spotted the Gray Kia Sorrento and stopped the men, according to the police report, WJAX reported.

No telling what the shirtless culprits from the photo were intending to do with the massive pole, valued at $2,500. Apeler told the officers he was moving the pole because it was on the ground close to traffic lanes, according to the report.

A pawn database search by police revealed that Apeler had 72 scrap metal-related transactions for recycling since January. Both men were arrested and charged with grand theft, according to WJAX.

Florida law enforcement has been vigilant against looters in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma which slammed into the Sunshine State last weekend, leaving severe flooding and damage in its wake. Police departments across the state have posted warnings and photos to discourage would-be criminals.

Police arrested nine people after a local TV station caught looters breaking into stores in Ft. Lauderdale.

Miami police tweeted a photo of a group of men in a jail cell with the caption:  “Thinking about looting? Ask these guys how that turned out. #stayathome.”

The photo of the tattooed, handcuffed men on the sidewalk in Jacksonville went viral, with many on Twitter wondering just what the pair wanted with the pole and how they thought taking it would go unnoticed.

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[sharenow]
Frieda Powers

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