A Clearwater golf course is out thousands of dollars after a late night burglary. A group of suspects broke in and took golf carts out for a joyride.
An employee at the Landings Golf Club of Clearwater says he spotted at least two of the suspects loitering on the deck outside the clubhouse Thursday and kicked them out. They allegedly came back later that night and tried to steal two golf carts. But they weren't done. They came back over the weekend, and this time, did major damage.
A third of The Landings Golf Club carts will be staying parked a while. They're badly damaged, after deputies say two adults and four teens went hot-rodding.
"It doesn't make sense. Why would you want to come out, break something and tear people's stuff up? I've never understood that," said Nick Huston, The Landings director of golf.
Alfonsa Riley, Jr. and Shekenna Collins, along with four friends, allegedly hopped a fence, then busted out a window to the golf barn. They wasted no time taking cart after cart onto the course.
The suspects did start to return all 17 of the golf carts they'd taken out for a joyride, but the carts are now left with scratches, alignments destroyed, and tires torn apart. The total damages amount to more than $15,000.
That only scratches the surface. Crews at the course spent hours fixing dents in the sand traps and turf.
And with tee times filling up as snowbirds come to town, the course could lose a lot more cash.
"If we can't get temporary vehicles early enough this week, we're probably going to lose some revenue because we can't put carts out. Our clientele is generally a little older than average so they won't go if they can't ride a cart which means we're going to lose out on that income," Huston said.
The only silver lining is that all six suspects are now facing charges, since a nearby airport security guard caught them red-handed and called police. Huston hopes they'll all learn an important lesson before it's too late.
"A few felony records are going to be with you for life. You're not going to keep going. You'll just keep going in jail like that. Don't let this ruin your life. It's not worth it to ride around in a golf cart. Come out here, pay, play golf, have fun. Don't destroy stuff and people won't be mad at you all the time either!" he said.
The course is trying to make the best of it. They're still here up and running every day and may be looking to make some security upgrades going forward.