A few years ago, my children’s’ golf car was stolen right out of my back yard. I have a 6 foot chain link fence around my yard and I always felt that would be enough protection from thieves. I live in a friendly neighborhood across from an elementary school out in the country. In hindsight, I should have kept my gate locked or used some type of theft prevention or recovery tool. The golf car was lifted and had upgraded wheels and tires, a powerful stereo system and a custom paint job (courtesy of my two children.) When they ran out back to take the golf car to their favorite fishing spot, they were devastated that it was gone.
I was in disbelief that someone would steal our golf car from our own yard in the middle of the night while we slept, unsuspecting, only 50 yards away. I was heartbroken for my children and I started doing some research. I was shocked to find that tens of thousands of golf cars are stolen every year. Apparently, this is a “thing.” There are even know “golf car theft rings” like the one in central Florida that was dismantled in May, 2017. A man who was apprehended admitted that he worked as part of a golf car theft ring that effectively stole more than 30 golf cars each month. A similar report in Bristol, Connecticut revealed that a golf car ring had stolen 11 golf cars before being shut down by police. In June, 2017, Florida police raided a home for drugs and discovered a golf car chop shop. And this was in a RETIREMENT community!
Golf car owners are investing more time and money into their golf cars than ever before. Golf car only communities are thriving across the country and golf cars are considered to be an acceptable form of transportation. Ranging from $1000 to $15,000, golf cars are a big investment for anyone. So, what should you do when your golf car is stolen?
- File a Police Report
This should always be the first step and the more quickly you alert the local law enforcement, the better chance you have for recovering your golf car. My golf car was never recovered and there is a good chance that yours will not be either, but having a police report helps. If you have a theft recovery tracking device, the monitoring company will need the police report. If your golf car is covered by insurance, the insurance company will require the police report.
- Invest in a Recovery Tracking Device
Improved technology and a growing need has allowed for new devices to emerge on the market that guarantee theft recovery. My favorite and the one I stand behind is iTrax. New to the golf car industry, iTrax is a small, magnetic device that attaches to your golf car inconspicuously. It uses GPS and cellular tracking technology to pinpoint the location of the golf car in real time. iTrax guarantees that if law enforcement do not recover your golf car within 30 days, they will write you a check for $995. Placing an iTrax on your golf car is a no-brainer. I suggest you purchase one today.
- Invest in Theft Prevention
- Whether or not you invest in a recovery tracking device, take some simple theft prevention precautions:
- Install a pedal lock system. While thieves can still get past this method, it introduces a small barrier.
- Use a golf car security system. While this is more of a noise maker than anything, it could scare off a thief.
- Store your golf car in a garage. Golf cars are stolen from garages, but when they are out of sight, chances are there will not be a crime of opportunity.
- Make Your Golf Car Unique
Keep a record of your golf car’s Serial number, make/model and year. It is also helpful to place unique markings in hidden places on your golf car. Should your golf car get stolen, it will be easy to prove that it is yours, if recovered.
- Use Craigslist and Social Media
If you discover that your golf car has been stolen, head to your computer. Check Craigslist and Facebook marketplaces to see if someone is trying to sell your golf car. Be sure to check listings outside of your immediate area. Many times, thieves will take the golf car to the next county to sell it.
Of course, it is my sincere hope that your golf car is never stolen, but if it is, refer back to this article for some clever recovery tips.
About the Author: The Owner of WHEELZ Custom Carts & Accessories, Julie Starr was one of the industry’s first online retailers of golf car products. Her eCommerce store, www.WHEELZLLC.com, has been serving golf car owners since 2008 and the store remains a popular online shopping experience for golf car owners who want to take their golf cars to the next level.