Gregory Smithwick (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Abigail Johnson (Source: Maricopa CXounty Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Two people have been arrested on charges of stealing pricey golf clubs from Phoenix-area resorts and country clubs, police said.
Gregory Smithwick, 26, and Abigail Johnson, 27, were arrested March 5 following an investigation that began in January.
Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes said during the heists, the suspects would steal the golf clubs valued up to $3,000 from area resorts and golf courses and immediately sell the items to another person who, in turn, would then sell them online.
Officers from the Desert Horizon Precinct's Neighborhood Enforcement Team got a license plate number of the suspect vehicle from a victim whose clubs were stolen at the Orange Treet Golf Resort.
Police connected the license plate to Smithwick's vehicle. Officers began monitoring Smithwick's movements. From early February until March 5, the suspect, accompanied Johnson, continuously traveled to golf resorts and neighborhoods at different hours of the day, Holmes said.
On March 5, Smithwick traveled to the Tatum Ranch Golf Club and parked near the golf club drop-off area for about five minutes before leaving the property, Holmes said. When asked, the staff told officers that no property was missing.
Smithwick then drove to the Pinnacle Peak Country Club, where officers said they watched as the truck parked near the golf club drop-off area. Smithwick, dressed in casual, golfer-type clothing, climbed out and entered the drop-off area, Holmes said.
Moments later, the suspect emerged carrying two sets of golf clubs, Holmes said. Smithwick placed the clubs in the cab of the truck and the driver of the vehicle, identified as Johnson, left the country club area, investigators said.
Officers followed the vehicle to the area of North 45th Place and Adobe Drive, where officers stopped the truck and detained the suspects. Smithwick and Johnson were placed under arrest for theft and the golf sets were recovered.
During the service of search warrants, two more expensive sets of clubs were recovered, Holmes said.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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