Masked Bandit Strikes

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 2:29pm

Raccoon steals purses at Florida golf course.

Eunice Messick had just started a round of golf when she walked back to her cart and noticed her purse had vanished.

"Police report, canceled the credit cards of course, got new keys, had the locks changed," says Messick. "I was really paranoid, wasn't I?"

Everyone assumed Vero Beach, Florida's Sandridge Golf Club had a thief.

Messick's purse remained missing until this week when another female golfer caught the suspect in the act.

"She had the opportunity to look back," says Bob Komarinetz, Sandridge's Director of Golf. "She saw the raccoon grab her purse, take it from the golf cart and carry it into the bushes."

Groundskeepers followed the raccoon into the bushes.

There, they found both purses and a stash of golf balls and trash..

"I think he's looking for food more than anything," says Komarinetz. "A lot of the ladies and the men for that matter will carry crackers with them to snack on and I would imagine that this is not an isolated incident."

It's not.

Bob Albrightson saw the raccoon sitting on his golf cart Thursday. He then noticed his golf bag had been unzipped.

"I looked on the ground and here was my wallet and he had taken a ball out of my bag as well," says Albrightson.

Workers set up a trap to catch the raccoon but so far, it hasn't taken the bait.

Komarinetz hopes to relocate the raccoon somewhere away from any valuables.

Golfers at Sandridge are learning, lock it or lose it.

"I played this morning on a different course, but I found myself checking on my purse every time, every hole," says Messick. "I figure now I'm just going to take the necessities, nothing extra."

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