TAMPA, Florida — One man’s fallen down utility pole is another man’s treasure.
A Florida motorist was arrested after he strapped a 30-foot long utility pole that had fallen into the road onto the roof of his 1997 Toyota Camry and tried to take it to a scrap yard to make a quick buck.
Cops caught up to Douglas Hatley, 71, of Lakeland, after other drivers reported seeing him driving with the pole dangling dangerously off the roof of his vehicle along Interstate 4 in Tampa.
When cops stopped him, they discovered the pole was strapped to the car with telephone wire.
Hatley said he was trying to turn in the pole as scrap metal for cash and that he didn’t know it was illegal to remove the pole, even if it was broken or had fallen.
Under Florida state law, items such as utility or light poles, manhole covers, guard rails, street signs, historical markers, funeral markers and shopping carts require proof of ownership for a reputable scrapyard to take them.
Hatley was charged with grand theft.