Why’s the Chopper in the Sky? Looking for a Stolen Golf Cart

by Karen Goff October 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm 1,045 17 Comments

Reston National Golf CourseSeveral Reston Now readers inquired Monday afternoon about the Fairfax County Police helicopter circling over Glade Drive and Soapstone Drive.

They were looking for a stolen golf cart, Fairfax County Police said.

Police said a pedestrian on the Reston Association trail near Reston National Golf Course called police about 2:55 p.m. to say a golf cart with two teenage boys and a teenage girl nearly hit him on the path before making a U-turn on Soapstone.

Police said Reston National has experienced a series of stolen golf carts recently and the chopper was dispatched to see if it could help find the stolen cart quickly.

By 3:30 p.m. the chopper was called back. No word yet on whether the suspects had been found.

Photo: Golf carts at Reston National/file photo

  • meh

    they mobilized a chopper to search for a stolen golf cart? I really hope it just happened to be in the area on a real job and then flew over to help. What a waste of tax dollars.

    • LakeNewportLady

      I was thinking the same thing. Eventually it will be abandoned…not like you can drive around town inconspicuously in one!

    • tooLiberal

      The mobilized the chopper in hopes they would have an opportunity to test the new air-to-surface missiles that have been added.

  • Grandpa Jack

    What is it about a beautiful sunny afternoon, with the birds singing and the wind rustling through the leaves, that makes you want to get drunk? And after you’re real drunk, maybe go down to the public park and stagger around and ask people for money, and then lie down and go to sleep.

    • Mike M

      Grandpa, you are killing me!

  • JoAnne Norton

    Actually if you go on the Fairfax County Gov police page there is a link there somewhere where you supposedly can track the police helicopters. Also, the fuel, pilot and staff time for that helicopter would probably equal the cost of the golf cart.

    • Greg

      I am sure all of those costs are ten times, if not more, than the cost of a golf cart.

      • Mike M

        When I was in the Army in the 1980s, they told us it cost $2,000+/- per hour to fly a helicopter (Kiowa, Iroquois, Blackhawk). Today it is probably much more. Maybe three times more. With Fairfax County and its gold-plating, probably five times more.

  • Greg

    What a disgusting waste of money. Keep this nonsense in mind next time Hudgins comes whining that she hasn’t taken enough of your money for government (excess).

  • Phil Lilienthal

    I have never just piled on before with nothing more to add, but this is too outrageous on its face to be left with just a couple of comments. Is this the product of the power of the big business of the golf course, a misconception of the nature of the severity of the crime, or something else. An explanation is needed!

  • John Higgins

    Granted, the visual of a chopper chasing a golf cart is funny. But I can’t agree with the somewhat shallow thought behind most of these postings. Those carts cost +- $5,000 each. The theft of one is a felony. The article referred to a series of thefts, and I read that to mean three or more. This sound like an effective tool to stop this particular crime. Or do readers have a standard they might share with us as to which crimes should be ignored?

    • Greg

      My car was stolen. It cost north of $40,000. A neighbor’s car was stolen. It cost much more. Several other neighborhood cars have been vandalized with cash and goods taken. No choppers, of any size, were dispatched to find our cars or the perps. And, cops would not so much as make a visit. We were told to file insurance reports and to file stolen vehicle-reports on line.

      A “series of thefts” could mean two or twenty or more.

      As with all vehicles, locking or disabling $2000 golf carts is the best tool to secure them; sending a chopper to find one is neither an effective deterrent nor a prudent expense of taxpayer money.


      • John Higgins

        Greg, do you seriously equate the efficacy of spotting a golf cart on Reston’s walking trails with locating a particular car within hundreds of square miles of crowded roadways?
        The complaint, as I understand it, involved a near-injury. Now, we are not told if the other carts in this “series” were later recovered…simple joyriding adventures or if this is a theft-for-profit.
        As a follower of the local news, you no doubt recall helicopter dispatch for recent break-ins and theft of a purse and other low value property. It would seem that the likelihood of apprehending a criminal is the first consideration. FYI, these $5,000 vehicles are “one key fits all” as a practical matter. I suppose we can blame the victim for not securing them, but I’m not quite ready to go there. If you have ever been to a golf course it’s pretty obvious that’s almost impossible.

        • Greg

          They cost $2000, not $5000. They are private property owned by a private entity. A visit from a crime-prevention officer, not a helicopter, is what the golf course needed. How they are keyed is relevant only to the extent that the owner negligence may now be mitigated by better caring for its stuff. A quality padlock is cheap and works well. So do cameras, Carjack-like tools, signs, security guards and even a good guard hound.

          And, of course, there’s Reston’s infamous lack of lighting and use of ancient inefficient incandescent and mercury-vapor lighting in the few places where there are lights. Lighting is a very efficient crime-prevention tool, and all of it can be dark-sky compliant unlike the inefficient junk we have and will appease the tiny percentage of urban skywatchers residing here.

          I don’t support militarized and helicoptered police and do not believe the frequent use of them is prudent,m warranted or needed for a purse, a golf cart or my neighbor’s $80k Benz. A school shooting or terrorist attack, perhaps.

          There are many needs facing Reston and Fairfax County — more helicopters and infrastructure to support them should be VERY low on the list if there at all.

          • John Higgins

            I appreciate your fact-filled comments. It never occurred to me that the best way to protect a golf cart at 2:55 pm is to padlock it in a well lighted garage protected by guard dogs. What are these crazy golf course operators thinking??

            And you are right, the police should ignore thefts of private property owned by private entities.

            Sign me up for as many of those $2,000 carts as you can get your hands on. http://www.rmigolfcarts.com/collections/new-vehicles

    • Sam Coulson

      From my inquiries to the Fairfax Police in the past, it seems they often send the chopper out whenever there is report of hit-and-run violence and they have an idea where the culprits currently are.

      For instance, one event in the past was where several suspects forcibly stole someone’s cell phone right out of their hand and took off on the Reston trails. Sending a chopper out to look for a cell phone? I initially thought it was ridiculous, but the county seems to take hit-and-run violence seriously. Really they were first looking for the robbers to deter that type of behavior, and then hope to return the property.

      Given that event, the fact that someone complained they were almost hit by a stolen vehicle sounds like something the county would send the chopper for. Whether you think the chopper is a proper tool to deter hit-and-run violence is up to you.


Subscribe to our mailing list