Suspects posing as golfers held in string of burglaries

Baltusrol is one of many East Coast golf clubs allegedly targeted by two suspected burglars.

Baltusrol is one of many East Coast golf clubs allegedly targeted by two suspected burglars.

They certainly looked like golfers, dressed in the requisite shoes, walking shorts, caps and collared shirts for a round at the club.

Of course, that was the point.

Two suspects have been apprehended in a string of burglaries at East Coast golf clubs in a classic crime of opportunity, according to The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. In most instances, credit cards and valuables were pilfered from unsecured lockers at golf courses from Florida to Connecticut, including Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J.

Oscar Cabrera, 33, of Miami, was being held at the Union County Jail in Elizabeth, N.J., in lieu of $200,000 bail. Luis Paz, 34, also from Miami, awaited extradition, The Star-Ledger reported, citing local authorities.

"Based upon their attire, as to be able to blend in with players at the club, it was obvious to my detectives that these suspects may have committed similar crimes in the past," Springfield (N.J.) Police Chief John Cook told The Star-Ledger.

With surveillance video from the suspects' visit to Baltusrol in June, police were able to start unraveling the scheme, The Star-Ledger reported.

According to the newspaper, investigators said that credit cards stolen from the Baltusrol lockers were used to buy $8,000 in gift cards at multiple stores in Union County. However, when the suspects tried to purchase $8,000 in gift cards from a nearby Target, one of the cards was flagged as suspicious, and the suspects fled the store. Police recognized the pair from the Baltusrol video.

Cabrera and Paz are scheduled to appear in Union County Superior Court on Aug. 9 and face multiple criminal counts, including theft by deception, credit-card theft, credit-card fraud, burglary and criminal trespassing.

Baltusrol, a 36-hole A.W. Tillinghast design, has been a regular host of U.S. Golf Association events for more than a century, and the Lower Course was the site of Phil Mickelson's 2005 PGA Championship victory. The PGA will return to Baltusrol in 2016.

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