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Two men caught with stolen power pole on SUV in Jacksonville

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Two men were arrested in Jacksonville for trying to steal a light pole after Hurricane Irma.

The Jacksonville men were arrested after someone reported seeing them load a light pole on top of an SUV on the Wonderwood Connector on Wednesday, two days after Hurricane Irma caused major damage in Jacksonville.

According to a police report, an officer heard over the radio that two men without shirts on were loading a light pole on top of a Gray Kia Sorrento.

The officer noticed a light pole was missing from an area on top of the bridge and saw the Kia driving eastbound with the pole on its roof.


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The officer initiated a traffic stop and took Victor Walter Apeler, 46, and Blake Lee Waller, 42, into custody for questioning.

Apeler told officers that he was moving the pole because it was laying on the ground close to lanes of traffic.

The pole was valued at $2,500.

Officers did a pawn database search and learned that Apeler had 72 scrap metal-related transactions since January.

He was arrested and charged with grand theft. 

Waller was also arrested and charged with grand theft.

A photo of the men handcuffed on the sidewalk went viral. JSO's Twitter feed was quickly filled with memes and photos ridiculing the pair. 

Twitter users openly wondered why the pole would even be stolen.

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

Theft in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma was a concern for Jacksonville police. One man was arrested right after the storm passed; he was accused of stealing from a closed 7-Eleven on Julia Street. 

Fort Lauderdale police arrested nine people after a local TV station caught looters breaking into stores during Hurricane Irma