Nathan Rodney Nelson steal 84 golf carts, worth around $222,000


Nathan Rodney Nelson steal 84 golf carts, worth around $222,000

Dozens of golf carts were stolen from a man. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

Prosecutors say 46-year-old Nathan Rodney Nelson stole golf carts from golf courses at night and drove them to a getaway car. He did this for four years, they say. Then, his phone number led people to him.

On Tuesday, a man in North Dakota got two years in prison for trying to steal or steal 84 golf carts across several states in an effort to get out of debt.

He came up with the idea to steal and sell golf carts when he was having trouble keeping his home inspection business going. This month, his lawyer filed a sentencing memorandum for him.

Officials told us that from then on, Mr. Nelson mostly went to the golf course at night and stole carts in pairs. In December, he agreed to plead guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property in a federal court in North Dakota. He would use "common ignition keys" to drive the golf carts from the courses to a trailer. The agreement didn't say how he got the keys, so we don't know how.

According to his plea agreement and a June 2021 affidavit from an F.B.I. agent, Nelson ran the theft operation for about four years from 2017 to 2021. He sold golf carts that he had stolen from golf courses in states like Illinois and Indiana. Nelson stole at least 70 carts, the F.B.I. agent said.

People who bought the golf carts on Craigslist or on Facebook Marketplace were sold by Mr. Nelson under the name Mason Weber at times, according to court records. He sometimes goes across state lines to make a deal.

Nathan Rodney Nelson

There was a plea agreement that said that Mr. Nelson usually sold the carts for $2,500. They were usually worth at least $5,000, though, When he stole from them, it cost them a total of about $222,000.

The FBI has been looking into him since July 2019, when a North Dakota sheriff's office asked for help when it thought the string of thefts might be linked.

His plan fell apart in August 2020, when his phone number gave him away, says the affidavit.

His fake name was used to store eight stolen golf carts in an Illinois self-storage facility, according to the affidavit. He kept them there under his real name. Police in the town where the alias came from found out it was the same number that belonged to Mr. Nelson.

Investigators found that they could link him to several interstate golf cart sales before they found him at a gym in March 2021.

His two-year sentence takes into account the time he has already spent in prison. A federal judge told him on Tuesday that he had to give up about $222,000 in cash.

Tuesday, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of North Dakota didn't answer emails or calls right away because they were busy.

According to the sentencing memorandum, after Nelson agreed to plead guilty in December, seven other charges he had been charged with were dropped. He was charged with one count of transportation of a motor vehicle and six counts of sale or possession of stolen motor vehicles.

For some reason, Nelson was selling golf carts to other people. He was "lured by the idea of quick easy cash and made a very bad choice, which he deeply regrets," his lawyer, Lorelle A. Moeckel, wrote in the sentencing memo.

On Tuesday, Ms. Moeckel didn't say anything.

In the memo, Ms. Moeckel wrote that after he came up with the golf cart scheme, it "became increasingly easy for him to stray from his long held moral compass."