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The Villages
Sunday, April 14, 2024

Squatter at Villages villa behind bars in theft of golf cart from nearby hotel

Jerry Michael Lay Jr.

A squatter accused of stealing a golf cart from a Villages hotel and a vehicle that was located by OnStar at the nearby Hacienda Villas is behind bars in Lake County.

Jerry Michael Lay Jr., 47, was picked up on two out-of-county warrants in Marion County on Sept. 21 and transferred to the Lake County Jail on Friday. He had been sought since July 12 when Lady Lake Police officers were dispatched to the residence in the 900 block of Mendoza Boulevard after Lake County sheriff’s deputies received “pings” from OnStar about a stolen vehicle. When officers arrived, they spotted a red golf cart sitting in the driveway of the Village of Del Mar residence and a black Pontiac backed into a parking spot across the street, a police report states.

An officer saw a woman exit the residence and enter the Pontiac, which had been reported stolen in Sumter County on July 9. He made contact with her and she said Lay had picked her up from jail three days earlier in the stolen vehicle and brought her to the residence. She said they were staying in the home’s guest bedroom, which is where their personal belongings were found, the report says.

The woman also said that Lay possessed the red golf cart in the driveway and had driven her to the store in it. It was one of two golf carts reported stolen four days later from the Townplace Suites by Marriott, located at 1141 Alonzo Ave., in Spanish Springs Town Square, the report says.

During the ensuing investigation, the owner of the villa told police that the residence should have been empty except for some furniture and that no one should be living there, the report says.

Lay, who listed his address as 1504 Sterns Dr. in Leesburg, is facing charges of grand theft and burglary. He is being held on $12,000 bond and is due in court Oct. 21 at 8:30 a.m. to answer to the charges.

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