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Photo: Fla. men attempt to steal power pole

A 911 caller saw "two white males, no shirts and several tattoos" putting a JEA light pole on top of their Kia


By Dan Scanlan
The Florida Times-Union

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Call it a pipe dream gone bad.

The tweeted image shows a long pipe precariously roped to the top of a Kia Sorento pulled over Wednesday morning on Wonderwood Drive and two shirtless men handcuffed and seated nearby on a curb.

The Sheriff’s Office tweet simply states that the pair were “caught stealing a JEA pole just this morning,” indicating that someone saw the Kia’s balancing act and called it in Wednesday.

“Citizens watching out and officers cleaning up = partnership!” the tweet added.

The power pole, complete with reflective numbers at one end, was equipped with a white rag at the rear to warn drivers following it. It was apparently removed from the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. A 911 caller saw “two white males, no shirts and several tattoos” putting a JEA light pole on top of their Kia, according to the arrest report.

The responding officer drove over the Wonderwood Drive bridge and saw the spot where the pole was missing. Then he pulled over the Kia with pole roped on top about 9:30 a.m., the report said. The officer asked the men inside where the pole came from, and the driver said he was moving the pole because it was lying on the ground near the road.

“When asked why he did not just roll it further into the shoulder, he did not have an answer,” the report said.

Under arrest for grand theft are Blake Lee Waller, 42, of Sapelo Road, and Victor Walter Apeler, 46, of Illusion Street, according to the report. A Sheriff’s Office pawn shop database search showed Apeler had completed 73 pawn transactions this year, 72 of them scrap metal-related. The pole was retrieved by JEA officials, who valued it at $2,500.

The State Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that law enforcement in Duval, Clay and Nassau counties are working with it to “enhance efforts” to arrest and prosecute anyone who uses the recent hurricane and its effects to commit crimes of opportunity. Anyone in Duval, Clay, or Nassau county who thinks they were victimized by a storm-related crime can call the State Attorney’s Office Human Rights Division hotline at (904) 255-3099, or use the electronic form at the office’s sao4th.com website to report it.

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©2017 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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