By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
The University of Texas Golf Club has had $25,000 worth of golf balls stolen over the past two years, and is now hoping the public can help solve the case through recently obtained photos of the crimes in action.
“There have been seven different occasions (where golf balls have been stolen) in the past two years” said Steve Termeer, general manager and chief operating officer at UT Golf Club.
The most recent hit was on Dec. 2 when someone arrived at 3:52 a.m. and then departed at 4:07 a.m.
Images were captured because the club recently put up cameras, like deer hunting cameras, hidden in areas that had been hit before. Some photos were also gathered by the security camera of a nearby homeowner.
“Obviously this has been extremely frustrating,” Termeer said. “But he finally made a mistake and got caught on camera. We have a pretty good image of the perpetrator.”
The club posted the pictures on Facebook to ask for help from the community in hopes of find the criminals, it is believed there is more than one person involved.
The post says: “Do you recognize this man? He and his accomplices have been stealing our high-end Titleist ProV1 TEXAS GOLF range balls from The UT Golf Club at night.”
These premium golf balls are the type of ball that “tour guys typically play with,” Termeer said.
“Also pictured is the somewhat rare, adult tricycle used to get around the back areas of the golf course before getting in their white pickup truck with backpacks full of balls exiting the property near our 7th tee box and leaving through The Fairways subdivision,” the post continues.
The photos show that a white Dodge Ram truck was in play as well, Termeer said.
Before the crime on Dec. 2, more golf balls were stolen five days earlier around Thanksgiving.
The first incident took place in January 2017.
“We had just received a shipment of balls (then). It was a large shipment that was stolen that night,” Termeer said. It was hard to speculate then who would have done that, he added.
They thought the thief was going through the main gate somehow. They reviewed video cameras and surveillance.
Termeer said it is tough to secure all 371 acres of the golf course.
Then it was discovered that the latest crimes “were hitting us near the back door, around the nine, avoiding the front entrances,” he said.
Termeer described the criminals as savvy, with riding an adult tricycle and coming in the back way through the front nine. In some of the cases, they used huge wire cutters to break in. They usually hit between 3 a.m or 4 a.m.
First they took new range balls and lately random balls on the driving range have been taken.
The balls should be easy to identify because “TEXAS GOLF” is printed on them in all capital letters.
Termeer has called all over the state to see if the balls have shown up. “So far they have not been sold on the open market,” he said.
UTGC has had a case open with the Travis County Sheriff’s Department. The club hired a private detective to work on the case as well. After more thefts, the club then installed hunting cameras in strategic places. Now the new photos are helping build awareness.
“We have distributed a law enforcement BOLO (be on the lookout) and are following leads,” said Kristen Dark, TCSO public information officer.
Since no one has been caught yet, UTGC decided to use social media and made the post on Dec. 17 to help find the culperates.
Less than 24 hours after the post, the club had gotten about two dozen leads, Termeer said. Once the criminals are caught, “we plan to prosecute to the full extent of the law.”
“Everybody’s got to be vigilant,” he added. “That tricycle is going to piece this thing together.”
To share information, email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (512) 266-6464.