Five big bags of balls – illegally gathered at Coyote Run Golf Course – were recovered this month by a Flossmoor police officer who saw a truck parked at the links at 2:35 a.m., well in advance of any morning tee time.
Two Northwest Indiana men received tickets for a municipal theft violation and for trespassing on the golf course after hours following the Sept. 6 incident, according to a Flossmoor police report.
Steven Nathanial Butnum, 37, of Michigan City, and Brandon Hecker, 41, of Gary, were given the tickets after a Coyote Run employee, called to the scene, told the officer that he did not want them to be criminally charged.
Deputy Police Chief Tod Kamleiter said the two men will have to appear in Flossmoor municipal court. If they are found guilty of the ticket violations, the men can be fined up to $750, he said.
On the morning of the incident, the Flossmoor officer saw a truck parked in the Coyote Run parking lot. In July, Coyote Run had reported the theft of numerous golf balls from the course’s driving range and the officer, remembering that previous theft, decided to investigate.
The officer found the two men near the truck. According to the report, Butnum told the officer that he and Hecker were retrieving balls from the Coyote Run water hazard. After that, the officer found five large bags that would normally hold 50 pounds of grass seed. They were filled with golf balls.
According to the officer’s estimate, there were between 500 and 1,000 golf balls in the bags.
At that point, the officer called in the Coyote Run employee, who said the two men did not have permission to be on the golf course after hours. He also said Coyote Run has a company that retrieves golf balls that are in the pond and elsewhere on the course.
After the tickets were issued to the two men, the officer returned the golf balls to the Coyote Run employee.