A vandalism spree by four juvenile males riding on stolen golf carts through the streets of Baxter Friday night and early Saturday morning ended with thousands of dollars worth of damage to several Baxter homes and businesses.
Captain Dale Walz said today that the vandalism spree was solved, thanks to a Baxter police officer who spent hours searching for the four teens, ages 15-17, who were reported to have smashed mailboxes by riding around the city on golf carts stolen from Pine Meadows Golf Course.
Walz said the teens stole a total of eight golf carts from Pine Meadows late Friday night, driving and abandoning them in various places throughout the golf course while smashing trash cans, breaking flagsticks and driving on the greens and damaging the carts at the course.
The teens then took three golf carts and drove through the city streets, running over mailboxes and pathlights at six residences on Madeline Avenue, Charles Street and Knollwood Drive North. Windows also were broken at Northwood Turf and Power and at Animal Care Center, both on Foley Road. Christ Lutheran Church reported a mailbox damaged and Dondelinger's reported that a tent rope had been intentionally cut and a mirror was broken off a truck.
At 11 p.m. Friday, Walz said a report came in about vandalism on Donald Street. He said Baxter officer Ann Hunnicutt spent the next couple of hours in the area, attempting to find the vandals. Then at 2:23 a.m. Saturday, she received a report of people on golf carts driving down the street and running over mailboxes on Madeline Avenue. She saw a golf cart in her rearview mirror and turned around to find out where it was heading.
Hunnicutt then found the three golf carts discarded in a swamp near Cherrywood and Excelsior Road. Walz said Hunnicutt had a hunch and found the four teens, wearing wet, soggy clothing, at a residence a couple of blocks away.
The teens admitted to stealing the carts and causing the property damage. Damage at the golf course was estimated at $5,000. Other damage estimates weren't available, but Walz said most homeowners who found themselves to be victims of the weekend vandalism spree reported damages that ranged from $30-$50.
The teens were transported to the Central Minnesota Juvenile Center.
"It was just good work on her part," said Walz, of Hunnicutt, adding that Sgt. Andy Rooney, Officer Matt Maier and Crow Wing County Deputy Pat Pickar assisted with the investigation. "I have to give most of the credit for this one to Ann for her persistence in keeping on this and clearing up a whole lot of damage."
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