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The Villages
Saturday, December 9, 2023

Convicted golf cart thief arrested after Villager’s Yamaha snatched at Spanish Springs

Jerry MIchael Lay
Jerry Michael Lay Jr.

A convicted golf cart thief found himself back behind bars after allegedly snatching a Villager’s Yamaha at Spanish Springs.

The Villager had parked his burgundy 2013 Yamaha golf cart with a Michigan license plate and Detroit Tigers’ windshield sticker at about 6 p.m. Sept. 9 at Spanish Springs Lanes, according to an affidavit of probable cause from the Lady Lake Police Department. About two hours later, the Villager discovered the golf cart had vanished.

A detective gained access to surveillance images from cameras at the square and identified the suspect as 51-year-old Jerry Michael Lay Jr., who has a long history of golf cart thefts in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.

The detective drove on Sept. 12 to Lay’s most recently known address in the San Leandro Villas. Accompanied by a Sumter County sheriff’s deputy, the detective found a partially dismantled golf cart in the villa community’s overflow parking area. It appeared to be a match of the golf cart stolen at Spanish Springs.

A dog walker, who also lives in the San Leandro Villas, asked the law enforcement officers if the golf cart they were examining was stolen. They asked why she would make such an inquiry. She indicated she was familiar with Lay and his criminal history. She was shown surveillance images from Spanish Springs and she said it was Lay.

The affidavit noted that Sumter County deputies also are investigating Lay for the “theft of utilities from a neighboring residence.”

A warrant was issued for Lay’s arrest and he was booked Monday at the Sumter County Detention Center. He posted $5,000 bond the following day and was released.

Earlier this year, Lay was arrested in connection with the theft of a 2015 Yamaha golf cart at Lake Sumter Landing.

In 2019, Lay was arrested in connection with another stolen golf cart.

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