ST. PAUL, Minn.  (WCCO) – A crime targeting golf courses nearly happened again in Falcon Heights, but police stopped it this time before the suspects got too far.

A patrolling St. Anthony officer noticed two vehicles with trailers hauling seven golf carts at around 6 a.m.

They were pulling out of the University of Minnesota’s Les Bolstad golf course when the officer came along.

It was the second theft of its kind at the course this year. Four carts stolen a few months ago have not been recovered.

The golf cart is not a complicated vehicle, with only two choices: forward and reverse. And any golfer can tell you, a single key will fit an entire fleet.

“Whatever the cart is, one key fits all,” said Karl Dickman of Shoreview, “so if you have a key, you can jump in and take whatever you want.”

It’s one of the reasons thefts and vandalism continue to be a problem for some courses.

Police were able to catch one suspect, a 25-year-old man from Minneapolis in the latest incident at Les Bolstad. The man who fled was driving an SUV that was also stolen.

“It’s crazy,” said George Vagher, a long-time volunteer at the course.
“You think, ‘what would they do with (stolen carts)?’ But there must be a place that they can get rid of them.”

A few course managers told us the move toward electric golf carts is lowering the numbers of thefts.

Electric carts have to be stored under a roof to protect the batteries and chargers, and those facilities are usually locked.

“Like the old days when you left your house open, keys in your car,” said Dickman, “you don’t do that anymore.”

University of Minnesota Police hope anyone with information about the second suspect will contact them at 612-624-3550.

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