Police catch 2 men trying to steal power pole in Jacksonville

Authorities say two men tried stealing a JEA pole in Jacksonville Wednesday morning. (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office)

Authorities say two men tried stealing a JEA pole in Jacksonville, Fla. Wednesday morning.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office posted a photo on social media showing two shirtless men in handcuffs, with the $2,500 pole resting on top of an SUV.

According to the arrest report, witnesses saw 46-year-old Walter Apeler and 42-year-old Lee Waller loading a light pole from the Wonderwood Bridge onto their Kia Sorento at around 9:30 a.m.

Police responded to the area and noticed the light pole missing.

An officer in pursuit of the men spotted the suspect car and conducted a traffic stop.

Apeler told the officer he was moving the pole because it was laying on the ground close to the drive lane, according to the report.

When asked why he didn't simply push it away from the lane or call authorities, police say Apeler would not answer. Both men were taken into custody.

According to JSO, Apeler had completed 73 pawn transactions, 72 of which were scrap metal related transactions between Jan. 1 through Sept. 13.

A project manager with the Department of Transportation arrived on scene and confirmed the pole belonged to JEA.

JEA arrived and took possession of the light pole.

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