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Teens plead guilty to vandalizing golf course


By Judy Reed

What started out as four teens joyriding in golf carts turned into more than $50,000 worth of damage done to the local golf course where the Cedar Springs golf team plays its home matches.

According to investigation records from the Kent County Sheriff Department, four Cedar Springs teens entered the Cedar Chase Golf Course one evening in early October and decided they wanted to drive the golf carts. The teens said they started them with a screwdriver, and then played “bumper cars” with them, smashing into each other. When one would get damaged, they would just go get another one. According to Michael Card, manager at Cedar Chase, they damaged 22 carts in all, as well as tearing up the turf.

After causing the damage, they also took pop cans from a shed and cashed them in at Meijer for $60, got food, and then returned to the golf course parking lot to eat it.

The four teens—Zachary Zenker, 17, Taylor Homrich, 19, Gregory Endes, 18, and Michael Shellito, 17—all pled guilty to malicious destruction of property over $20,000 as part of a plea deal. They will be sentenced in the next few weeks.

According to Card, it took three weeks to repair the turf. “We will not know until spring if the seed germinated and sod took hold, so there may be more work to do. The carts are still being fixed. The time it is taking to fix the damages made us postpone or cancel other course projects, like a planned bunker renovation and tree pruning and removal,” he explained.

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4 Responses to “Teens plead guilty to vandalizing golf course”

  1. Carly Rae says:

    It is indeed unfortunate for a business to lose money, especially when this loss was a result of purposeful action. What is more important than money in this case is the future these kids have with fines, jail time, and a felony record. Teenagers are not adults with fully formed brains and they operate more on emotion than reason. If these kids were truly malicious why would they turn themselves in? One of the teens is a college student with a full time job. Bright and full of ambition, but due to one night of poor decisions, what kind of future is in store? You don’t use kids to set as examples, it has serious psychological repercussions. Not to mention, one of the teens suffers from a mental illness which can be very difficult to treat, especially at such a young age. It is often trial and error until you find the right combination of drugs and at what doses…and then the body changes and you start the process all over again. But yes, let us focus on the turf and tree pruning, that is so much more important than destroying the futures of misguided and disadvantaged teens. Oh, and for your information… Kids generally don’t go around carrying 4 screwdrivers. They used keys to start the 16 golf carts that were damaged. I’m not even going to go into the accusation of stealing 600 pop cans, though I’m willing to bet that if you looked at the footage from Meijer that night you would not see 4 teens with 600 cans.. Teenagers need positive role models, guidance, positive relationships, and most likely therapy. What would you have them learn in jail? How to be a criminal?

  2. CJ says:

    Really Carly, That is a prime example of whats wrong with our evolving society, No accountability, “Oh I feel so sorry for these unruly deprived kids” Really!!! What a crock!! If you break into any place you do not have permission to be and you then steal and or vandalize anything. You go to jail!!! You do not blame their parents or society, They made “choices” and with complete disregard for anyone or anything destroyed others property in my hometown for their own entertainment!! If there is a valid reason for leniency it will be determined by a Judge in a court of law!! not here, Laws are set up to protect us and our property. Pretty simple. If you make a conscious do break the law. you MUST answer and pay restitution!! The owners of this small business serve our community and do not deserve to have the damage “Justified” It is just plain Ridiculous!!!

  3. Carly Rae says:

    Judging from your writing ability, I’m assuming that perhaps you are just a little ignorant of the purpose of jail. I never said they should not pay restitution. Are you aware of the cost per year for an individual in jail? Not only are you paying to take away a person’s freedom, but the fact that the criminal justice system is so far beyond screwed up, these kids aren’t going to be rehabilitated (one of the four purposes of jail), and how will they pay restitution? If someone were to break into your home and steal your TV, would you rather pay to confine them.. Wait for a period of time.. And hope that you can replace your TV.. Which will then be stolen again by the same person who you paid to have rehabilitated, or would you rather they use their own personal income to replace your TV, have them actually rehabilitated, and enjoy watching TV? If you honestly believe that sending someone to jail will reform them and when they get out they will be able to function normally in society, I am sorry to report that you are very mistaken.

  4. Rtunes says:

    carly, these kids are 17,18,and 19 years old, if they have no criminal records they won’t get jail time. These young men are old enough to know better, many men their age serve in the military, if I had to guess they have lacked some quality parental guidance, trust me if I did something like this my father would have sped up my brain development in a hurry when he found out. I knew from a very young age, if it is not yours don’t touch it. Firm punishment is needed so maybe just maybe these boys can share this experience with other under developed brain carriers that they come in contact with. And I think if they live at home, mom and dad should pick up the tab. Sorry if my writing might show my ignorance to your point of view, but I think you are in the minority on this one. I hope all goes well and they learn big from this. R.T.




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