Florida man who strapped utility pole to roof of car charged with grand theft, officials say

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LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida authorities have charged a man with grand theft after troopers say he loaded a downed utility pole onto the roof of his car and drove along the highway to a recycling facility.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers were called to a report of a theft on westbound I-4 on Monday. They were told a driver had loaded a downed power pole onto a small sedan near I-75, according to Public Affairs Officer Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

Gaskins said the man succeeded in making it to a local recycling facility, but troopers said he was turned away because he didn’t have proper documentation for the pole.

(Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

The Florida Highway Patrol recovered the utility pole and the 1997 Toyota used to transport it at the scene. The driver, identified as 71-year-old Douglas Allen Hatley, was arrested.

Hatley was charged with grand theft and taken to the Hillsborough County Jail.

Online jail records from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office show this is not Hatley’s first brush with the law. He was charged with grand theft, dealing in stolen property and false information on a secondary metals recycler form in 2017.

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