Vehicular vandals cause thousands in damage to golf course

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The hard work of dozens - and the enjoyment for hundreds - was spoiled by someone who decided it would be fun to go off-roading on a golf course.

The vandals caused thousands of dollars in damage and the North Port Police department is trying to track down the person or people responsible.

Golfers say what happened is worse than any sand trap they've ever seen, but police say they do have a few good clues to go on.

On the second hole of Heron Creek Marsh course, a maintenance worker doing routine work just before 6 a.m. Wednesday found deep tire treads, apparently deliberately dug in over the green and apron.

"Why anybody would do something like this is beyond me," said Tom Rainey, Heron Creek’s director of maintenance.

His crew of 20 dropped everything to deal with the holes created by what he described as “big, knobby tires.”

"Everything was just destroyed," he said.

The damage will cost the course $10,000 in repairs and lost green fees during their busiest time of year.

It was an even bigger blow to those who are up every day before the crack of dawn to work.

"This is why it looks the way it does, it is because of the staff. People take a lot of pride in what they do here," Rainey said.

He believes they entered through a little driveway that connects to Sumter Boulevard.

The clearly-cut tire treads are the first clue. Police hope the person's big mouth becomes the second.

"People brag. Sometimes people say things. That might lead us to a person. If we can match those two things up, it'll be easy-peasy," Josh Taylor with North Port police said.

It took about three hours for Rainey's crew to even out what they could. Now, they want the vandal caught faster than the next hole in one.

North Port Police do say they had a similar incident to this at a city park several months ago, but do not believe they are related.