Community helps recover stolen golf cart

An 85-year-old Winter Garden resident who relies on his golf cart to get around received some good news the day after his ride was stolen.

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Benny Meredith’s golf cart is his connection to the community — the only way he can get around in his hometown of Winter Garden to visit with friends and family. To celebrate the Fourth of July, he drove his golf cart a half-dozen blocks down to Lake Apopka to watch the annual fireworks and returned home after the show.

The next morning, Benny Meredith, 85, was devastated to find someone had stolen his only means of transportation sometime during the night. But thanks to the goodness of strangers and the power of social media, Benny Meredith’s golf cart was recovered and returned 24 hours later. There was some damage to the body, but he was happy to have it back in his possession.

Benny Meredith has diabetes and he lost most of his foot two years ago, so mobility is difficult, said his granddaughter, Kylee Meredith. She said the vehicle is his pride and joy.

“If you know my Papa, this was one of his favorite things he owned,” she wrote in a Facebook post the day after the incident. “Please keep an eye out for it!”

She said friends and acquaintances shared her post about 200 times, including James Kirby, a friend who owns Excape Powersports, a local golf cart dealership.

A buddy of his saw the post on Facebook while riding in a vehicle, Kylee Meredith said, and when he looked up, he saw the stolen golf cart driving past. Thieves had removed the bed and the roof, but he recognized the mirrors and tires, she said.

Two teens were arrested for the theft of this golf cart and several others, as well as an attempted theft of a fourth. The bed was recovered in an abandoned building nearby.

“Seriously, you guys are absolutely amazing!” Kylee Meredith wrote on Facebook. “The golf cart has been found! They took the bed off and the roof and broke the light, but it was found, and it runs! You all have no idea how amazing you are and how happy my papa is to have it back.”

Repairs were necessary, though, including replacing the headlights, which had been broken when the teens reportedly tried to wire computer speakers into the system, she said.

“That was his baby,” Kylee Meredith said. “He cried when we dropped it off.”

Kirby offered to repair the damages for free and expects to return it to him this week.

“He goes everywhere, literally everywhere in it,” she said. “He’s always, always in that golf cart. He lost his foot to diabetes, so that’s the only way he got around. That’s his only means of getting around seeing people.”


Benny Meredith's golf cart was returned in damaged condition.
Benny Meredith's golf cart was returned in damaged condition.




Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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