Light Pole Thief

Yes, that is a light pole strapped to the top of the van.
Yes, that is a light pole strapped to the top of the van.

A Miami, Florida man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly trying to sell a county-owned light pole he found lying on the street.

Miami police said the man balanced the steel pole to the top of a van and drove it to a recycling plant in an attempt to sell it for scrap metal.

"Forty years, three cities, this is a first," said Miami Police Chief John Timoney.

The pole was missing from Biscayne Boulevard.

"It's been on the ground for three months," said Elliott Varela, the suspect in the case. "If they don't want it, there's somebody else who can really use the money."

Miami police said Varela will face charges of grand theft and dealing in stolen property.

"He's obviously pretty creative. How he's having to balance that is beyond me," Timoney said.

Police said amid tough economic times, the thievery of metal in the form of manhole covers and storm shutters is rampant.

Enrique Obregon, the manager of the recycle plant where the man allegedly tried to sell the pole, said his operation will not buy stolen metal.

Authorities said the light pole was made of a metal that was not easily recyclable.