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Police: Florida man drinks whiskey, steals front-end loader and plows over Biden signs

Officers say he didn't know how to operate the construction equipment.
Credit: Haines City PD and the Associated Press

HAINES CITY, Fla. — A Florida man was arrested Saturday after police say he stole a front-end loader from a construction site and ran over Joe Biden campaign signs.

James Blight, 26, was arrested and charged with grand theft, criminal mischief and trespassing on a construction site. Authorities say more charges may be coming.

The Haines City Police Department says Blight took the front-end loader from a construction location at U.S. 27 and Main Street. Officers say he was found a while later, around 1:30 p.m., operating the equipment in the area of Hinson Avenue and South Third Street.

Police say he got in the driver's seat of the loader, something he didn't know how to operate. While riding it, authorities say Blight went through a private chain-link fence and drove over political signs, taking out a speed limit sign along the way.

"Blight told police that he had been drinking whiskey all day and did not remember most of the day," Public Information Officer Mike Ferguson wrote in an email explaining what happened. "He said that he couldn’t help but hit the Joe Biden signs and acknowledged to taking down a fence in the process."

He was arrested and taken to the Polk County Jail.

“It’s absurd that a grown man could think he had the right to destroy someone else’s property based on a difference in political opinion," Police Chief Jim Elensky wrote in a statement. "The fact that he was driving this heavy equipment, that he did not know how to operate, down busy roads could have been disastrous. 

“We’re thankful that no one was hurt in this matter.”

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