FARGO, N.D. – A Florida man accused of stealing at least 63 motorized golf carts across several Midwestern states from 2017 to 2021 was sentenced to two years in prison, according to court documents.
Nathan Rodney Nelson, 46, of Apollo Beach, stole at least $283,500 in golf carts, the Miami Herald reported. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota, Nelson used the alias of Mason Weber to rent self-storage units in several states to store the stolen carts and sell them.
U.S. Attorney Nick Chase said that as part of a plea agreement, Nelson was also ordered to pay $14,000 in restitution, KVRR-TV reported. Nelson pleaded guilty in a federal court in North Dakota in December 2021 to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, The New York Times reported.
Authorities said that Nelson, who acted mostly at night, went to golf courses and stole them in pairs, according to the newspaper. Nelson would use “common ignition keys to drive the golf carts from the courses onto a trailer.” The plea agreement did not explain how Nelson had obtained the keys, the Times reported.
Nelson was arrested on June 21, 2021, in southwestern Georgia by Seminole County deputies, the Donalsonville News reported. Nelson was arrested when he attempted to steal carts from a golf course in Donalsonville, according to the newspaper. Authorities said Nelson was carrying pre-printed serial number labels and burglary tools, the News reported.
The FBI began investigating Nelson in July 2019 after the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in Fargo, North Dakota, asked for help in solving a series of golf cart thefts that began two years earlier in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to The Associated Press. The case also included reports of stolen carts in Illinois and Indiana.
Nelson was sentenced to two years in prison with credit for time served, according to court documents. He was also sentenced to three years of supervision upon his release, the Herald reported.
Nelson’s defense attorney, Lorelle Moeckel, wrote in a sentencing memo submitted to the court that Nathan had been struggling financially while trying to sustain his home inspection business.
“He was lured by the idea of quick and easy cash and made a very poor choice, which he deeply regrets,” Moeckel wrote.
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