Did police refer to the latter case as a "sting operation"? Of course they did.
That happened in the UK, as you might have guessed, since most of the law-enforcement humor over here at the moment involves chortling at the idea that citizens have rights.
Another difference between the UK and the US involves the number of police bullets that go into people. Is it a big difference? Well, The Economist reported that last year British police officers fired their weapons three times. Not that each officer fired his or her weapon three times—all of them put together fired a total of three times. C'mon, you guys. We just had one officer shoot twice that many at one person over here, and then a few days later two more in the very same area put nine in somebody else. Get with the program!
"Let me also be clear that our constitutional rights to speak freely, to assemble, and to report in the press must be vigilantly safeguarded, especially in moments like these," said President Obama last week. If only there were someone whose job it was to to do that….
You might ask "why would a family steal five utility poles" but then you might see that they are worth about five grand each. You then might ask "but wouldn't it be hard to sell a stolen utility pole" to which your immediate response would be, "sure, but it'd be easier than selling a stolen totem pole." You'd then remember that the totem-pole stealer wanted it for his house, not for resale, so it isn't really the same thing, but you'd go ahead and mention it anyway because hey, totem-pole story.
That's what I'd do, at least.
You might also then remember that you do have one actual utility-pole story, which was a pretty good one although it has nothing to do with either of the above except for the involvement of a pole (in this case, one installed in the middle of a highway). You'd probably mention that one, too.