Late Evening Open Thread: Florida Man and Woman in the Wake of Hurricane Irma Edition

It’s too late in the evening for another serious post, so here’s some Florida man and woman for you.

A Florida man and woman were arrested for stealing downed power lines after Hurricane Irma, according to officials.

Deputies were called to an Altamonte Springs neighborhood Sept. 16 after a neighbor said two people were cutting downed power lines on his property.

Deputies said the power lines were down after a pole snapped in half during Hurricane Irma.

The power was out and the neighborhood was dark, deputies said.

Deputies found $5,000 worth of power lines cut up in the back of a truck.

They questioned Charles Mahoy, 41, and Andrea Foster, 45, and found methamphetamine and marijuana in the truck, deputies said.

Mahoy and Foster were arrested on suspicion of larceny during a state of emergency, criminal mischief and drug possession.

Apparently it’s something of a crime epidemic:

Open thread!

89 replies
  1. 1
    BCHS Class of 1980 says:

    But they’re not looters or thieves, remember; they’re foragers. H/T The Onion

  2. 2
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Florida men attested while shirtless? Color me shocked!

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Not to bring the lighthearted tone down, but please spare a good thought for commenter Betty (not Cracker; the Other Betty), who lives in Dominica. Hurricane Maria, by that time a Category 5, made landfall in Dominica an hour or two ago.

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @BCHS Class of 1980: Actually I’m planning on doing a post on that. Just not tonight.

  5. 5
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steve in the ATL: If you go to the link, the Altamonte Springs couple were also pretty pale.

  6. 6
    BlueDWarrior says:

    Since this is an open thread, I’d like to kindly appeal to the Milwaukee Brewers of Major League Baseball to just lay down and die already. Seriously. Stop winning.

    [ Yes I’m being a whiny Cubs fan right now, but seriously this race is about all I have to root for in terms of Sportsball because the Saints still can’t find their way to a defense and LSU is too young to compete for the SEC in real terms right now ]

  7. 7
    Davebo says:

    Their power was out and they thought the lines still had electricity in them!

  8. 8
    different-church-lady says:

    @BlueDWarrior: AC0101001

  9. 9
    lollipopguild says:

    @BlueDWarrior: LSU is too young? Maybe they should move to the Sunbelt until they get older.

  10. 10
    albertZ says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Looks like one of their shirts is on the end of the pole – so they thought of that. Safety Third!

  11. 11
    Mike in NC says:

    Wife spoke on the phone to friends in Tampa last week. Irma was scary shit but they made it through OK. They invited people they knew in Naples to come up, and they brought their dog and cat to ride out the hurricane.

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Although my nieces’ mother is a devil woman, she has enough of a sense of self-preservation to evacuate all of them from Naples to your neck of the woods well ahead of time. I should see if they’re back in Florida yet.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    boatboy_srq says:

    larceny during a state of emergency

    This is a different class of theft than petty/grand larceny? IANAL, and FL is what/where it is, so the idea of this kind of legal granularity is… interesting.

    As is the idea that the entire state is up for grabs just because bits of it are upended, also too.

  15. 15
    NotMax says:

    There’s a (tortured) joke in there somewhere about a neighborhood rumored to be frequented by British tourists and “the wireless,” but still partially unawake from a power nap.

  16. 16

    @SiubhanDuinne: That’s just terrifying. I hope she comes through it okay.

  17. 17
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    This is, I believe, the guy who said trump would die in prison, which I still think would be too much to hope for, but… still I hope

    John Schindler‏Verified account @ 20committee 4h4 hours ago
    For months, I’ve gone as far here as I could while protecting still-serving IC friends. SIGINT has Team Trump cold….just like I told you.

  18. 18
    NotMax says:

    Emboldened Golden State.

    California declared itself a “sanctuary” state over the weekend, showing the world that resistance to the Trump administration continues to gain traction throughout the United States. Source

  19. 19
    efgoldman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    This is, I believe, the guy who said trump would die in prison, which I still think would be too much to hope for

    He may, but given his age, health, and stress, I think he’s just as likely to leave the WH on a gurney.

  20. 20
    Another Scott says:

    Meth eats brains.


    In other news, GovExec:

    If lawmakers opt to do the bare minimum with appropriations bills and keep agencies running on autopilot for all of fiscal 2018, it would trigger automatic across-the-board spending cuts throughout government, a new analysis has found.

    President Trump has already signed a stopgap spending measure to maintain the status quo from the beginning of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1 through Dec. 8. A Congressional Budget Office review of that bill found that continuing the same spending levels for the full fiscal year would likely force the Office of Management and Budget to revoke some of the funds that Congress had appropriated. About $2.4 billion would be sequestered from defense accounts, while about $2.3 billion would be sequestered from non-defense accounts, CBO estimated. The Office of Management and Budget would make the final determination on the amounts of any sequestration.

    The 2011 Budget Control Act set caps for both defense and non-defense spending for 10 years starting in 2013, with any money allocated above those levels precipitating an automatic revocation. A sequester has only actually occurred in fiscal 2013, as two separate budget deals raised the caps in fiscal years 2014 through 2017.

    No such agreement is yet in place for fiscal 2018, meaning the BCA limitations are scheduled to kick back in. The White House has encouraged lawmakers to pass such an agreement for the upcoming fiscal year, but only so it can increase defense spending. In his budget, Trump proposed boosting defense spending by $54 billion and cutting non-defense spending by the same amount.

    The administration has endorsed an omnibus appropriations bill recently passed by the House, which the Office of Management and Budget conceded would cause a $72 billion sequestration on the defense side. OMB urged lawmakers to make “the necessary changes to the discretionary caps” so that would not occur. It did not respond to questions about whether it would also support raising non-defense caps to avoid a sequester of those accounts as well. Democrats are reluctant to make any adjustments that don’t treat civilian and defense spending equally.

    Lawmakers have bought time through early December to avoid a lapse in appropriations, but several sticking points remain. In addition to adjusting the statutory spending caps, lawmakers and the White House are at odds over Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The president has promised to shut down the government if the wall is not funded.

    Fun, fun, fun.


    I assume the Democrats will stay strong, but they need our help and encouragement.



  21. 21
    NJDave says:

    You know, I think these stories are terribly sad. How desperate, and addled, must you be to try to steal a light poll? Yes the stupidity is amusing, but the circumstances that led to these crazy measures are usually pretty awful.

    Yeah, I’m a liberal.

  22. 22

    People dig up the ground to steal power lines for the copper. It’s a thing.

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: Yep, without a waiver things will get ugly come mid December even if they pass a proper appropriation for the rest of the fiscal year.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @efgoldman: a grabber on the crapper a la Elvis is not out of the question

  25. 25
    Adam L Silverman says:

    This is interesting:

  26. 26
    efgoldman says:


    How desperate, and addled, must you be to try to steal a light poll?

    Not the poles; the copper wires. Copper has pretty good scrap value. It goes for $1.00 to as high as $2.50/lb.

  27. 27

    I’m extremely pleased that this post is in the “energy policy” category.

  28. 28
    Another Scott says:

    @efgoldman: The pole on the car probably had very little copper wire inside. I assume the pole was aluminum. It looks like aluminum scrap prices are around $0.50/pound, so they might get enough for it to fill the gas tank and get a 6 pack of MD 20/20.



  29. 29
    rikyrah says:

    the poles are made of copper?
    Genuinely curious. I don’t get the thievery of the light pole

  30. 30
    JCJ says:


    Tell ya what – just have the Colorado Rockies throw in the towel, then we will both be happy!

    I am very glad that the Cubs beat down St Louis last weekend.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Major Major Major Major: It’s the attention to the little details that make each post here at Balloon Juice special.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    NotMax says:

    Add in no doubt at least similarly increased funding for black budget items and also peripheral related costs and we’ve shot far past the trillion dollar mark.

    Senate Votes to Buy More Military Planes Than Pentagon Requested

    The Senate today voted, 89-8, to pass a $700 billion national security measure that would permit $60 billion of war spending, exceed President Donald Trump’s budget proposal and bust through budget caps.

    The measure would authorize 94 F-35 jets made by Lockheed Martin Corp., 24 more than requested by the president and seven more than the House agreed to in its version of the bill.… Source

    From the same link, anyone care to hazard a guess on which lobbies have been buttering McCain’s toast?

    The defense authorization bill would allow graduates of military academies to skip active duty and join pro-football, baseball and hockey leagues by accepting a commission in the Selected Reserve. The McCain-backed provision faces opposition from the Trump administration and the House, which want to see military graduates carry out their at least some of their active-duty commissions first.

  34. 34
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: They aren’t. It’s Florida. People do really strange things here 24/7/365. Rain, shine, natural and/or man made disaster.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Major Major Major Major: The commenters make the commentary to each post here at Balloon Juice special. Everyone and everything in its proper place.

  36. 36
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I didn’t see this, but I’m very glad it happened

    Senator Warns Sarah Sanders: Stop Poisoning James Comey’s Reputation Or Face Indictment
    Sheldon Whitehouse stopped by Hardball to discuss the latest news about Robert Mueller and the Russiagate investigation earlier today. While he was on the topic of obstructing justice and the like, he had a warning for Sarah Huckabee Sanders in relation to her intentional efforts to slime James Comey last week….
    In Whitehouse’s opinion, those cheap and intentional shots could open up a third line of inquiry for Robert Mueller based upon what he views as an intentional effort on her part to taint Comey in the eyes of the Grand Jury.
    “The question for Sarah Huckabee Sanders is who asked you to do that, who told you to do that?,” Whitehouse explained. “And once you know who, you look to the motivation, and if the motivation was to poison the reputation of James Comey with the Grand Jurors you have another indictment.”

  37. 37
    NJDave says:

    @efgoldman: The post says pole. The two shirtless guys on the ground look pathetic. Two guys with little clothing try to steal a light pole. Maybe it’s my upbringing but I see this as terribly sad.

  38. 38
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: That would be a terrible idea given the cost to the taxpayer.

  39. 39
    Bess says:

    They weren’t stealing. They were foraging.

    It’s a white thang….

  40. 40
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: No, it’s the fanatical devotion to the Pope.

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NJDave: Here’s the reporting on the two guys in Jacksonville:

    Two men were arrested in Jacksonville for trying to steal a light pole after Hurricane Irma.

    The Jacksonville men were arrested after someone reported seeing them load a light pole on top of an SUV on the Wonderwood Connector on Wednesday, two days after Hurricane Irma caused major damage in Jacksonville.

    According to a police report, an officer heard over the radio that two men without shirts on were loading a light pole on top of a Gray Kia Sorrento.

    The officer noticed a light pole was missing from an area on top of the bridge and saw the Kia driving eastbound with the pole on its roof.

    The officer initiated a traffic stop and took Victor Walter Apeler, 46, and Blake Lee Waller, 42, into custody for questioning.

    Apeler told officers that he was moving the pole because it was laying on the ground close to lanes of traffic.

    The pole was valued at $2,500.

    Officers did a pawn database search and learned that Apeler had 72 scrap metal-related transactions since January.

    He was arrested and charged with grand theft.

    Waller was also arrested and charged with grand theft.

  42. 42
    Another Scott says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks.

    I assume the “value” was the cost to replace it, not what they would get for it at a scrap yard.

    E.g. 40-foot, 10″ diameter, 1/4″ thick aluminum, hurricane resistant light pole for $2787


  43. 43
    efgoldman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: “

    The question for Sarah Huckabee Sanders is who asked you to do that, who told you to do that?,” Whitehouse explained.

    One of my guys, and a really good one.
    Also, he knows what he’s talking about. Former state attorney general and US attorney.

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: I do not know as I am neither in the licit or illicit scrap metal business. They may be doing this because they’re desperate. They may also be doing this because they’re criminals. Or both.

  45. 45
    LunarG says:

    You know, in some states, fiber optic cable for high speed internet is also hung on power lines. And you really don’t want to mess around that stuff; it splinters, and fragments can works their way into your eye, or circulatory system, or other places you don’t want tiny, razor-edged bits of glass. There are strict protocols for handling broken fiber for a reason! Husband’s job involves maintaining fiber across MI, & I’ve heard horror stories.

    Err, hi! I mostly lurk.

  46. 46
    NotMax says:

    @Another Scott

    It wasn’t much more than a century ago that aluminum was one of the most expensive metals around, so dear that a small pyramid of it is what was chosen to embellish the top of the Washington Monument as an honor.

    Funny ol’ world, innit?

  47. 47
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I kinda want to go with both, myself.

  48. 48

    @Omnes Omnibus: Damn it, I was saving up for that joke.

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LunarG: Hello.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It was just laying there. I had to pick it up and run with it. It’s what rugby players do. Even old ones.

  51. 51
    s herl says:

    Dammit, give em break. They probably needed a 20 foot light pole and it was just laying there. If it was a tree limb they would be lauded as good neighbors for helping with the cleanup. I mean who doesn’t need a light pole for the backyard…or something.

  52. 52


    Err, hi! I mostly lurk.

    Hi! How are you?

    ETA: I am fine. I am drawing a ghost.

  53. 53
    Ruckus says:

    @Another Scott:
    Scrap value probably around $175.
    Now here in CA that would be a problem. You have to show a DL to get paid for the scrap, they take a photo copy. Then they call the cops because they otherwise the scrapyard gets in trouble, as the local cops check on things like light poles, guard rail, etc. I believe the limit for grand theft is still $2000 and it’s the value of the item not the scrap value. I had a very expensive piece of special copper stolen once. The scrap value was $33.00 but the valuation was $5000.00 because of the actual material and the work that had been done. The cops intervened because of the scrapyard and I got my material back and someone had a grand theft warrant issued.

  54. 54
    NotMax says:

    An idiosyncratic high cost of aging in Japan.

    One perk of getting old in Japan is a gift of a silver cup from the prime minister in the year you celebrate your 100th birthday. But from this year, new centenarians will be sipping sake from cheaper vessels.

    The rising cost of supporting the aging population — almost 32,000 people were eligible to receive the gift this year, up 4.5 percent from last year — has prompted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to present cups made of silver plate rather than sterling silver. The move halves the price to ¥3,812 per cup, public broadcaster NHK said, reducing total spending on the gifts by about 40 percent to ¥150 million.

    The cost-cutting follows a move to make the cups smaller in 2009␎.
    This predicament is perhaps seen most clearly by the swelling of centenarians from 153 in 1963 to a record of more than 65,000 this year. The government distributes the sake cups every September to honor the elderly. Source

  55. 55
    Another Scott says:

    @NotMax: Yup. Napoleon had aluminum utensils, etc.


  56. 56
    Kelly says:

    Last year a fellow around here died trying to steal wire from a dormant sawmill. Cut a fat wire that was still hot 440 volt.

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: It was just laying there. I had to pick it up and run with it. It’s what rugby players do. Even old ones.

  58. 58
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Bad hit on the reply button.

  59. 59

    @Adam L Silverman:

    They may be doing this because they’re desperate. They may also be doing this because they’re criminals. Or both.

    I’m going with desperate criminals.

  60. 60
    Timurid says:

    @s herl:

    Maybe they were going to go full Mad Max… speaking of “RAMMING SPEED”…

  61. 61
    NotMax says:


    that was still hot 440 volt

    Now that’s extra crispy.


    Howdy! Once the ice is broken, the swimming is quite invigorating.

  62. 62
    Amir Khalid says:

    What will USAF and USN and USMC do with the extra planes? Will they have to recruit and organise new squadrons at an extra cost of billions for people, equipment, premises, and such? Or will these not-exactly-cheap planes be left to rot in a hangar?

  63. 63
    Ruckus says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    This is not the first time that congress has done this, bought more than the Pentagon wants. Especially very expensive things the Pentagon doesn’t want. This is what you get when lobbing congress is free speech and a lot of people are invested in that lobbing. The only people that want to spend money on this is congress and the plane mfg. There will be some very lucrative jobs in the lobbing industry/airplane mfg for a few congressmen over this.
    ETA To answer your question, yes, for the simple reason that congress will not authorize the money that it takes to operate them. There is no one to lobby for operational money.

  64. 64
    LunarG says:

    Perhaps the Florida men were just trying to organize a spot of caber tossing? Fine neighborhood activity?

    I’ve heard that polar plunges–New Year’s Day dips into Lake Michigan are invigorating, too! I have learned to distrust that word!

    But thanks all & sundry for the greetings!

  65. 65
    rikyrah says:

    Post again soon 😎

  66. 66
    NotMax says:


    Yes, and also a bargaining chip for the conference committee.

    “Okay, we’ll put back in your funding for [fill in the blank] and make the supreme sacrifice of budgeting for only 20 more planes than the Pentagon says it wants, not 24.”

  67. 67

    @NotMax: Unless you drown.

    I put up the map today btw, with your suggestions on it :)

  68. 68
    gene108 says:


    don’t get the thievery of the light pole

    It’s a light pole. How cool is it to have one in your backyard? Pretty fucking cool. ❄️🌨😎

  69. 69
    John Revolta says:

    @Ruckus: So, did the coppers collar the cons that copped your copper?

  70. 70
    Mary G says:

    I wonder what the guy on the right has on his left arm. It looks like a black opera glove, but that seems unlikely. A really dark sleeve tattoo?

  71. 71
    Mary G says:

    @Major Major Major Major: What’s the name of the architectural font labelling the rooms and floors? I love fonts.

  72. 72
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Mary G:

    It looks like one of the innumerable variants of Tekton.

  73. 73

    @John Revolta: Oh gawd, don’t give up the day job.

  74. 74
  75. 75

    Just had a minor shaker here.

  76. 76

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: USGS says 3.6 magnitude centered in Westwood.

  77. 77

    @Mary G: @Steeplejack (phone): Just something I found on the innertubes called ‘Drafter’. I get most of my fonts from Blambot but that one I just googled for.

  78. 78
    NotMax says:


    a minor shaker

    But – but – the Shakers are celibate.

  79. 79
  80. 80

    I used to work in the Altamonte Springs area as a FL Dept of Corrections Probation Officer. Oh the memories this news story evokes. Apparently nothing has changed in the last 20 years.

  81. 81
    Mary G says:

    @Steeplejack (phone): @Major Major Major Major: Thanks, gentlemen. I also found one called Graphite.

  82. 82
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    A longtime favorite font site. (For Amir, in the original Deutsch.)

  83. 83
    NotMax says:


    While on the subject, a couple more links.

    A pretty darn decent comic book style free font.

    And another very nice font site.

  84. 84
  85. 85
    SectionH says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The weather news looked really grim. Friend in Canada paying attention:
    buildings being trashed (i.e. Barbuda) doesn’t = people dying. I really really hope she’s right.

  86. 86

    they were going to use them to lasso alligators. Stupid Floridians don’t know it’s much easier to do it with water moccasins once you train them to hold each other’s tails in their mouths.

  87. 87
    sm*t cl*de says:

    @Another Scott:

    Napoleon had aluminum utensils, etc.

    That “etc.” could cover a multitude of sins. What else did Napolean have made in aluminium? Inquiring minds are inquiring.

  88. 88
    sm*t cl*de says:


    As is the idea that the entire state is up for grabs just because bits of it are upended, also too.

    It’s not “stealing an election” when you’re white. It’s just “picking up a few votes that were lying around”. Salvaging, is all.

  89. 89
    Ruckus says:

    @John Revolta:
    Probably not, I was never called to testify about the copper value. Now he could have been caught and copped a plea……..

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