HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – A Lakeland man is facing a grand theft charge after troopers say he loaded a downed utility pole onto the roof of his car and drove it to a recycling facility.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers say they 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 says the driver then drove, with the pole loaded on the roof of his car, to a recycling facility on Harney Road. When he got there, troopers say he was turned away because he didn’t have proper documentation for the equipment.
Troopers say they found the driver, identified as 71-year-old Douglas Allen Hatley of Lakeland, on North 50th Street near State Road 60. The Florida Highway Patrol recovered the utility pole and Hatley’s 1997 Toyota at the scene.
“There was no criminal intent whatsoever. Totally non-violent,” Hatley told troopers in the dash cam video of the arrest. “I had no idea it was wrong!”
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.