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Strangest Post-Irma Crime Goes to ... These Guys

2 suspects arrested for stealing utility pole in Jacksonville
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2017 9:35 AM CDT
Updated Sep 17, 2017 6:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – One way not to get your power back on quickly in the wake of hurricane: steal a utility pole. Restoring service likely wasn't the intent, however, of two men in Jacksonville, Fla., who were involved in one of the weirder post-Irma crimes yet. Per the Miami Herald, the two were arrested Wednesday morning after being pulled over with a Jacksonville Electric Authority pole tied down on the top of an SUV. WJAX reports a call came into police that two guys without shirts had been seen strapping the pole onto a Kia Sorrento, and an officer soon tracked the Kia down and made a traffic stop.

Inside the Kia: 46-year-old Victor Walter Apeler and 42-year-old Blake Lee Waller, still sans shirts. Apeler told cops they were simply getting the downed pole out of the way of traffic, but after cops searched a pawn database, they found Apeler had nearly 75 scrap-metal sales this year alone. He and Waller were both charged with grand theft, with the pole said to be worth $2,500. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office posted a photo on Facebook of the two shirtless suspects sitting on the curb, the pole still perched atop the Kia, inviting the inevitable commentary that such a Florida crime often invites. (Read more Hurricane Irma stories.)

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