Bold thieves stole traffic lights off poles as Florida cops watched, officials say

Nick Thomas/Centre Daily Times, file

A group of deputies sitting in their cars witnessed an ambitious bit of thievery when three Florida men began taking traffic lights in the middle of the night, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened around 1 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, in Spring Hill, Florida, about 50 miles north of Tampa, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Investigators say an off-duty Hernando County sheriff’s detective was on his way home when he saw “a suspicious van” with its lights off near of Hexam Road and Commercial Way. The intersection is in a commercial area of northwest Spring Hill.

“The detective then observed sparks emanating from the area where traffic lights are in the process of being installed,” the sheriff’s office said. “Additional deputies soon arrived on scene where they observed three individuals using a saw to cut the traffic lights off the poles.”

The deputies confronted the men and discovered three traffic lights were in their van. Each of the lights is worth $5,000, the sheriff’s office said.

“All three men admitted to stealing the traffic lights,” the sheriff’s office said.

The three men, all in their late 20s, were taken to the Hernando County Detention Center and charged with larceny/grand theft of less than $10,000. Bond was set at $2,000 for each, jail records show.

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