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By AP NEWS April 13, 2022 at 6:57 am EDT

FARGO, N.D. — A Florida man linked to dozens of motorized golf cart thefts in the Upper Midwest was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison.

The FBI began investigating Nathan Rodney Nelson in July 2019 after the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in Fargo, North Dakota, asked for help in solving a series of golf cart thefts starting in 2017 in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Nelson, a former Minnesota resident living in Apollo Beach, Florida, was eventually arrested in June 2020 while he was caught trying to steal golf carts from a dealer in Donalsonville, Georgia. He also was carrying pre-printed serial number labels and burglary tools, according to court documents.

Investigators say he stole at least 63 golf carts in seven states, worth at least $283,500.

Nelson would typically steal carts in pairs from rural Midwestern golf courses, usually at night. He sold many of the carts under the alias Mason Weber, at a cost of about $2,500 each, court documents show.

Defense attorney Lorelle Moeckel said in a sentencing memorandum that her client was not able to keep his business going and pay his bills. He came up with the idea to steal golf carts to solve his financial problems and “from there it became easier and easier for him to stray from his long held moral compass.”

Nelson pleaded guilty in December to interstate transportation of stolen property. His sentencing calls for him to serve three years of supervised release and pay back about $14,000.