Stolen golf cart takes bizarre trip from IBX Outfitters to Chocowinity

Published 6:57 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

When local business owner Liane Harsh came into work to open Inner Banks Outfitters on Friday, she quickly discovered that she was missing a critical piece of equipment. Sometime Thursday night or early Friday morning, the golf cart used by the business to haul kayaks and paddle boards was stolen from its normal parking space outside the shop.

According to Harsh, life jackets stored on the cart were arranged neatly outside of the store when she arrived on Friday morning.

At around the same time the cart was reported stolen to the Washington Police Department on Friday morning, according to Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jim Vanlandingham, a golf cart was reported abandoned in the vicinity of the 300 block of Fredrick Road, south of Chocowinity. Vanlandingham went on to say that residents discovered the cart beside the railroad tracks near the junction of Fredrick Road and U.S. Highway 17.

In order to bring the cart from IBX to the location where it was discovered on Frederick Road, the culprit would have had to drive through downtown Washington before crossing the the U.S. Highway 17 bridge and driving through Chocowinity, a journey of approximately 8 miles.

Harsh, however, has a different theory.

“I think somebody decided to drive the golf cart across the railroad tracks to Chocowinity,” Harsh said. “If they were on this golf cart after dark, driving any other way, somebody would have stopped them or said they saw them.”

On Friday afternoon, the BCSO contacted the WPD to see if there were any reports of a stolen golf cart. At that point, the two agencies were able to share information to return the cart to IBX Outfitters.

“I feel like the police and sheriff’s office did a great job,” Harsh said. “I’ve always had great experiences with law enforcement here in Washington, and this is one more time where they’ve come through for me.”

According to Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford, there have been more 200 larcenies in the City of Washington thus far in 2018. Of these, Drakeford said the majority have been thefts from retail stores.

“Most of the larcenies we have outside of the retail outlets are because individuals do not lock their vehicles, leave their keys in the vehicles or leave their valuables in their vehicles,” Drakeford said.

While larcenies present a major challenge for law enforcement in Washington and Beaufort County as a whole, Drakeford said his department has had some success in bringing the number of larcenies down in recent years.

“This is the lowest it has been in eight or nine years,” Drakeford said. “We have been constantly pushing that number down. It’s one of the main issues we have, so that’s why we’re trying to constantly educate people so that we can work together to lower that larceny crime rate in the City of Washington.”