Man Jailed For Two Years After Stealing More Than 80 Golf Carts

Nathan Rodney Nelson admitted to stealing, or trying to steal, 84 golf carts over a four-year span

Golf carts lined up
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A Florida man has been jailed for two-years after he was found guilty of stealing, or trying to steal, 84 golf carts over a four-year span.

Nathan Rodney Nelson, who in 2017 had seen his home inspection business struggle, had decided to steal and sell the golf carts to help with the mounting bills. According to the New York Times (opens in new tab), the 45-year-old usually sold the carts for $2,500, around half of what they were worth, with it being estimated that the golf carts Nelson stole were worth $222,000.

Primarily stealing from around the Midwest and Southeast, court records showed that Nelson would take the carts from rural golf courses in the middle of the night and then later sell them through websites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. 

These courses included areas like North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Georgia, with Nelson being successful on at least 70 of those attempts.

He was later arrested in Georgia while trying to steal carts from Dixie Sales and Service, which does maintenance work on the vehicles. When he was searched, deputies allegedly found golf cart keys, pre-printed labels with fake serial numbers and “burglary tools.” Records show he also had two IDs, both with his photo: a Florida driver’s license with his real name and one from Iowa for “Mason Weber."

A golf cart on the path

Nelson will now serve two-years-in prison

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 45-year-old was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to interstate transportation of stolen property, with a federal judge in North Dakota also ordering Nelson to pay a total of $13,713 in restitution to several of the courses he targeted and to forfeit $222,736 to the federal government. Under his plea deal, the judge dismissed the other eight charges against him.

Nelson’s lawyer, Lorelle Moeckel, stated in court documents filed earlier this month that her client took full responsibility for stealing the golf carts. Over the years, she said, Nelson repeatedly told himself after a heist that it would be the last — until it wasn’t, and he decided to steal again “to ease his financial problems".

“He was lured by the idea of quick easy cash and made a very poor choice,” explained Moeckel. "From there, it became easier and easier for him to stray from his long held moral compass,” she added.

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.