Police in Sumter County, Florida say they have busted a crime ring that allegedly swiped dozens of high-end golf carts from hotels and retirement communities. During a sting operation, alleged golf cart pirate James Logan tried selling undercover officers a cart he’d stolen hours earlier, then attempted to flee on foot when officers tried to arrest him, according to an arrest affidavit. But officers quickly caught up to him; Logan had driven to the sale in the stolen golf cart and had no other escape vehicle, police say.
The heist was far from an isolated incident, Logan allegedly confessed.
Logan, 34, along with alleged accomplices Heather Senn, 29, and Johnny Hurst III, 35, were arrested May 12 for allegedly working together to steal golf carts and “then quickly sell them for cash ranging from $600—$1,200,” the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. During a police interview, Logan confessed to stealing “approximately thirty golf carts a month,” the sheriff’s office said.
But police said fewer than thirty golf carts have been reported stolen in the county in the past six months. Logan’s confession suggests a golf cart theft scheme that far exceeds county boundaries, police said. Logan’s attorney did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
Golf cart thefts are not uncommon in central Florida, where sprawling golf courses abound. An employee at Miona Lake Golf Course in Sumter County told The Daily Beast that someone had stolen “just a couple” golf carts from the course in the fall and winter. An employee at nearby Shady Brook Golf and R.V. Resort said the course had seen a rash of golf cart thefts three to four years ago, but was unaware of any recent heists.
In the early hours of May 12, Logan allegedly rolled into a Lowe’s Home Improvement parking lot in a Yamaha golf cart, which he and his accomplices stole from a Holiday Inn just hours before, police allege in an arrest affidavit. Police say Logan drove the stolen vehicle from the Holiday Inn to the Lowes. A Holiday Inn is located less than a mile from the Lowe’s Home Improvement, but separated from the store by an eight-lane highway, an impressive crossing for an open-air vehicle not intended for heavy traffic. (An employee at the Holiday Inn in question was unaware of any recent golf cart heists from the property.)
When Logan finally completed the slow roll into the Lowe’s parking lot, he allegedly attempted to sell the cart to an undercover police officer for $600, at which point a car full of deputies swarmed him. When Logan attempted to flee sans golf cart, police used a taser gun on him, the agency said. Police charged him with grand theft of a motor vehicle, dealing in stolen property, possession of burglary tools, and resisting arrest without violence. His alleged accomplices Senn and Hurst have been charged with dealing in stolen property.
Logan is being held without bond, due in part to an an incident in late April, during which he allegedly sold a sawed-off shotgun to an undercover police officer. After his arrest for the alleged golf court heists, Logan told police “post-Maranda [sic] ... that he generates his entire income through criminal activity. The defendant also stated that he has no choice but to continue stealing,” an arrest affidavit reads.
Coincidentally, a month before Logan’s arrest, police questioned him in two other golf cart thefts. On April 14, police responded to a call of a $9,000 golf cart at a Summerfield, Florida residence, which police determined to have been stolen from a nursing home, according to an arrest affidavit. A caller also told police that a blue golf cart had briefly been parked at the home the previous day. Police spotted Logan across the street and questioned him on the golf carts, on which he denied any knowledge.
After his May 12 arrest, Logan confessed to stealing the $9,000 nursing home cart, police say.