Florida man arrested after strapping downed light pole to car roof on highway

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A Florida man who strapped a light pole to the roof of his car on a highway has been arrested on charges of grand theft, authorities said.

Douglas Allen Hatley, 71, was pulled over on a Tampa roadway on Monday after another driver reported that a maroon Toyota Camry was hauling a metal pole – nearly double the length of the car – on its roof, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Hatley said he found the pole on the ground by the side of the highway and wanted to sell the metal for scrap, according to troopers.

In this photo provided by the Florida Highway Patrol a downed power pole is strapped to the roof of a car, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, on Interstate 4, in Hillsborough County, Fla. (Florida Highway Patrol via AP)

A driver told authorities they had seen Hatley tie the light pole to his car roof a few miles away on Interstate 4 near the Interstate 75 interchange.

Troopers told Hatley that a highway maintenance worker had reported the pole stolen, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Hatley was being held on $2,000 bond. (Hillsborough County Jail via AP)

The 71-year-old Lakeland man said he didn't realize that it was illegal to remove broken utility and light poles from the side of the road.

Hatley was arrested and charged with grand theft. He was being held on $2,000 bond. A passenger in the car was not charged.

Hatley told troopers that he had found the pole on the ground by the side of the highway and had planned to sell the metal for scrap, according to the report. (Florida Highway Patrol via AP)

Jail records didn't list an attorney who could comment on the case.


Hatley has a long rap sheet, having been arrested 48 times in Florida since 1971 on charges such as grand theft, burglary and probation violation, the paper reported, citing state criminal history records.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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