FARGO, ND (AP) — A Florida man linked to dozens of motorized golf cart thefts in the Upper Midwest was sentenced to two years in federal prison on Tuesday.
The FBI began investigating Nathan Rodney Nelson in July 2019 after the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in Fargo, North Dakota requested assistance in solving a series of golf cart thefts from of 2017 in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Nelson, a former Minnesota resident living in Apollo Beach, Florida, was finally arrested in June 2020 when he was caught stealing golf carts from a dealer in Donaldsonville, Georgia. He also carried pre-printed serial number tags and burglary tools, according to court documents.
Investigators say he stole at least 63 golf carts across seven states, worth at least $283,500.
Nelson typically flew carts in pairs around rural golf courses in the Midwest, usually at night. He sold numerous carts under the alias Mason Weber, priced at around $2,500 each, according to court documents.
Defense attorney Lorelle Moeckel said in a sentencing memorandum that her client was unable to continue his business and pay his bills. He came up with the idea of stealing golf carts to solve his financial problems and “from there, it became easier and easier for him to drift away from his longstanding moral compass”.
Nelson pleaded guilty in December to interstate transportation of stolen property. His conviction requires him to serve three years of probation and repay approximately $14,000.