$20,000 worth of goods stolen from Kincardine Golf Club

Section: 
News

By Kristen Shane

 

It didn’t take long for Gord Howse to notice something was amiss when he went to work at the Kincardine Golf Club last Tuesday.

 

Howse, the club’s groundskeeper, drove into the West Street site ready to unlock the gates, but they were open.

 

As he pulled up to a driveway near the main storage area, he saw a golf cart sitting in an area left bare the night before.

 

Howse got out of his vehicle.

 

“I went into my office and noticed that my jackets were missing,” he said. “I thought someone was playing a prank on me.”

 

It was no prank. When Howse swung open the club’s main storage shed door, he saw that two golf carts were missing as well as a rack of keys, tools and various pieces of equipment.

 

Altogether, South Bruce Ontario Provincial Police said some person or persons stole close to $20,000 worth of goods. Howse jotted down a list of missing items including a 60-horsepower Case tractor, two chainsaws, a whipper snipper, gas-powered hedge trimmer, leaf blower and hip waders.

 

When golfers showed up at about 9 a.m. for ladies day, they found a few more obstacles than usual on the course. The thief or thieves had left a trail of debris heading from the storage area around the northern and eastern edges of the course. An open box trailer sat along the Hole 6 fairway. Stuck in a ditch on Hole 8 just in front of the green was a bunker machine, the size of a small riding lawn mower, used to groom sand traps. Tire tracks crossed the Hole 1 green. At the edge of the bushes near the Hole 2 tee-off lay two piles of small items including empty beer cans and liquor bottles, which the course had been saving to take back for recycling.

 

Golf course employees found a bunker machine stuck in a muddy ditch in front of the Hole 8 green Tuesday, part of a trail of debris left after the early morning theft. (Kristen Shane photo)

 

A couple golf course employees tracked the debris to that area, where they said they discovered a man loading a dark blue truck between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.

“We yelled…and I immediately started taking the licence plate (number),” recalled course manager Jim Bell later that morning. “He jumped in the truck and took off.”

 

The vehicle sped down Huron Terrace with the driver’s side door hanging open.

 

Police said the break, enter and theft happened between 4 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. It was a brisk morning and golfers were not on the course, Bell said.

 

The course is fairly accessible during off-hours, but an alarm system protects the pro shop and clubhouse. The large storage area from where the items were stolen was fenced and the main shed locked.

 

Regular play was unaffected that morning except for the trail of debris, which employees left intact for investigators to piece together how the crime happened. Golf course employees were left to do their work without keys to many pieces of equipment.

 

Golfers play around this trailer, sitting on the Hole 6 fairway Tuesday. (Kristen Shane photo)

 

As of Thursday morning, police were still investigating and had not charged anyone in connection with the case, however Bell said police had managed to help recover all of the missing items. Some goods had been found scattered around the course, while others were offsite.

 

“It’s a relief,” he said.

 

A few years ago, a few golf carts had been stolen from the club, but there had been no more such thefts recently, said Bell.

 

Police have asked anyone with information to call South Bruce OPP at 519-396-3341 (Kincardine), 519-881-3130 (Walkerton) or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222 -TIPS (8477).