Grand Theft Shopping Cart: 5 Of The Weirdest Vehicles Involved In Crimes
Jeffry Sabiel And Santa Walters allegedly hijacked a motorized shopping cart from Walmart and drove it to a bar before cops caught up with them — and that's not even the oddest vehicle crime we found.
Getaway drivers in legendary heist movies like "Gone In 60 Seconds" or "The Fast and the Furious" are known for driving (and stealing!) sleek sports cars and gorgeously modified specialty vehicles. In reality, lawlessness behind the wheel ain't always so pretty — we can't all be Vin Diesel or Angelina Jolie.
In reporting on the country's craziest crimes, we've come across some truly bizarre stories that involve grand theft auto charges. For example, who could have guessed that entire crime syndicates were allegedly organized around stealing golf carts?
From Jet Skis to monster trucks: We're counting down some of the strangest vehicles we've seen involved in crimes. Start your engines!
1. Joyride on a motorized Walmart shopping cart
A Florida couple was arrested on grand theft charges after hijacking a motorized Walmart shopping cart for a ride to a local dive bar, cops said.
Jeffry Sabiel, 50, and Santa Walters, 32, were seen stealing the cart from the Missouri Ave. Walmart in Largo, Florida on May 17, according to police. The two fled the Walmart property in the vehicle and headed west on on Rosery Road. Video of the scene was captured by security cameras but was not shared with news organizations, according to WFLA, a Florida-based news station.
The cart was eventually tracked down to a parking lot by Jimmy's Sports Bar. The couple was found by police inside the bar, according to Patch Florida.
The duo denied stealing the cart at first but ultimately confessed, according to police. They were taken to Pinellas County Jail where they were booked. They were each released the same day on $2,000 bond, according to Fox News.
2. Grand theft monster truck
A Texas car theft ring went too far when they stole an 11-foot tall monster truck this spring, tipping off cops, according to The Dallas Morning News.
In February of 2018, police charged Paul Lee, 27; Carl Eric Meyer, 38; Amanda Michelle Lee, 30; and David Campbell, 57, with operating an auto theft ring in the Lone Star State. Meyer was shot and injured during a chase with law enforcement officials.
A police officer was also injured during the arrest, according to NBCDFW, a Dallas Fort-Worth news station.
Police recovered a Mustang and a dually pickup from the crew, but it was their theft of the hulking modified Ford that caught cops' attention. Video of the suspects crawling into and hot-wiring the customized rig, estimated to be worth between $100,000 to $150,000, was caught by nearby bank security cameras.
When cops recovered the truck, which crashed on a nearby side road shortly after the theft, they found that the suspects had stripped the car of $20,000 in stereo equipment, police said.
3. Stolen Jet Skis never hit the beach
Police caught Isaac Orengo, 34, only ten minutes after he stole a trailer containing two Jet Skis stored at a parking lot in North Bergen, New Jersey, according to NJ.com, a New Jersey-based news site.
The owner of the missing watercrafts called police to report the theft on June 25 of 2017. Just moments before the call, nearby cops just happened to spot two Jet Skis rolling past, pulled on a trailer by a van. They pulled Orengo over and arrested him almost immediately. It turned out that the Ford van he used to steal the trailer and Jet Skis was also stolen, according to cops.
4. A rash of missing shopping carts sparks an interesting conversation
Owners of an ACE Hardware store in Denver, Colorado issued a notice to the area after several shopping carts went missing from their store, prompting a complex debate about homelessness in the community, according to CBS4, a Denver-based news affiliate.
In June of 2017, shortly after purchasing four new carts (each costing at least $170) bringing the store's total to ten, store workers noticed that they were back to six trolleys.
“We lose a lot of them, a lot,” store employee Betty Nikirk said to CBS4. “People come by, take them out of the parking lot, keep walking with them. Some walk out to the light rail. We find them back there.”
"If we go out quickly after we [receive a] tip, we probably get it 80 percent of the time. If we let any time lapse, someone picks it up and takes it further away," store owner Andy Carlson, said to KDVR, a Denver-based Fox affiliate.
Matthew Silva, a homeless person in the area, told reporters that for people without places to live the carts were important tools for survival.
“I never thought they would be as important as carrying your groceries out of the store until I became homeless and on the street,” Silva said to CBS4.
5. A golf cart crime syndicate
After an undercover cop allegedly managed to buy a stolen golf cart from James William Logan, the Ocala, Florida man admitted to stealing around 30 golf carts every month for a ring operating in the area, police told The Orlando Sentinal.
Alleged ring members Logan, Heather Marie Senno, and Johnny Hurst were charged with dealing in stolen property in May of 2017. Logan was also charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle.
Using a knife, a multi-tool, and gloves, Logan was able to hot wire the vehicles without the keys. He admitted to stealing at least one Yamaha cart valued at around $9,000, officials said.
Logan accepted a $600 payment from an undercover detective for one of the stolen carts, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by The Daily Commercial, a Leesburg, Florida-based news organization.
A fourth person, Jessie Lee Curtis, was also arrested for her involvement with the ring. Four stolen carts were recovered after her arrest.
[Photo: Jeffry Sabiel and Santa Walters via the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]