Drug ring and golf cart chop shop busted at retirement community

Deputies raided a home in The Villages, a large Florida retirement community, earlier this week in response to a bevy of neighbor complaints about suspected drug activity.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Villages, an article in Slate from a few years back brilliantly describes it as thus:

“The Villages is the largest gated over-55 community in the world. It holds more than 100,000 residents in an area bigger than Manhattan. And everyone gets around via golf cart. The first time I visited, I couldn’t believe it.

“There were designated parking areas for golf carts at all the businesses. There were golf-cart tracks going everywhere. There are golf-cart tunnels and even a golf-cart bridge to cross the major highways. Why golf carts? Because nobody there really needs a car. Everything they could ever want is inside the gates.”

Some of the carts are souped up “Pimp my Ride” style affairs, designed to look like Mercedes-Benz or Hummers and cost upwards of $25,000…so these aren’t your local municipal course’s gas-powered clunkers from the 80s.

Per an Orlando Sentinel report, in addition to drugs, authorities found evidence of a golf cart chop shop operation: Windshields, seat cushions, and tires all dismembered from their cart body.

“There have been some golf carts stolen in the neighborhood in The Villages here, and we’re trying to tie some of the parts to some of the stolen vehicles,” Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Robert Siemer said.

More than 40 golf carts have been pilfered in nearby counties, according to WFTV Channel 9. Not surprisingly, several members of the suspected drug ring are thought to be involved in the thefts.

Who was the kingpin of this operation? Not the homeowner, it seems. The elderly man who owns the residence in the 55-and-over community reportedly had no idea what was going on in his home. His niece, Kathleen Unrath, who had moved in with her uncle to care for him, is thought to be behind the operation. She was arrested along with four other individuals.

What can you say? A retirement community seems like excellent cover for a drug operation. And when everyone in that community gets around by golf cart, why not steal a few and chop them? This is decent criminal logic.

What’s less sensible, however, is actually dealing drugs out of the house in arguably the environment with the largest percentage of nosey neighbors. Seriously, imagine how many grandmas were watching people show up to the house in question. Just dumb. As with so many criminals, blundering stupidity will see Unrath and her cohorts behind bars.

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