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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A Korean man steals wallet from a locker room at a private golf club

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[Los Coyotes Country Club Website]
In a recent spate of thefts at popular golf clubs, a Korean-American man posed as a golfer, broke into a locker room, stole a wallet, and used thousands of dollars in credit cards.

The incident occurred at 4:55 p.m. on April 1 in the men’s locker room at Los Coyotes Country Club, a major membership-based golf and country club in Orange County. This specific golf club’s locker room is not accessible to the public since it runs on a membership system.

“I left my clothes on the rack in the locker room as I usually do, and when I got out, my wallet was missing,” said club member Sam Kwak. “Moments later, I received a message from my bank about my credit card activity.”

After investigating the card’s transactions, the suspect spent more than $8,000 on Kwak’s credit card in about two hours, including taxi fares ($200), gift certificates to a beach spa near a golf course ($1,000), and a commerce casino ($7,000).

“After investigating the transactions, I found that the suspect used a Korean-owned ‘KT Taxi,'” Kwak said. “I spoke with the Korean driver who drove the suspect and confirmed that he picked up the man at the golf course, went to the spa, the casino, and dropped him off in LA Koreatown around 7 p.m. that day.”

The problems continued. On April 4, four days after the incident, a man showed up at the beach spa with a gift certificate purchased with Kwak’s card. The spa recognized that the gift certificate had been purchased with a stolen card and informed the man that it could not be used.

“When I told him that he couldn’t use the gift certificate because it was purchased with a stolen card, he told me to throw it away,” said a spa representative. “I asked him who he got the gift certificate from, and he said it was from his real estate agent, Mo Park.”

Kwak and some members of Los Coyotes Country Club have now formally requested the Buena Park Police Department to investigate the incident. They have also obtained security camera footage from the beach spa that shows the suspect using the stolen card.

“I gave all the information to the detective in charge, but I don’t think he’s doing a good job, so I’m still emailing and calling the police,” Kwak said. “I didn’t expect a thief to come in because it’s a private golf club, and when I saw the video, I was even more shocked that it was a Korean-American.”

Meanwhile, Park Mo, a real estate agent who was mentioned by the man who tried to use the gift certificate purchased with the stolen card, said in a phone conversation with us on June 6, “I’m really surprised that my name was mentioned in such a thing. I had nothing to do with this, and I never gave the spa gift certificate to anyone.”

We also tried to contact the driver of the KT taxi that picked up the suspect, but the number was disconnected.

Golf club thefts have been a frequent occurrence in recent years. On March 30, seven Korean-Americans at Westridge Golf Club had cash (about $2,500) stolen from them while playing golf after leaving their wallets in their golf carts.

On April 4, thieves hiding in the bushes approached a golf cart parked in the distance and stole valuables in the bag while Korean golfers were playing on the 7th hole of Lake at Los Coyotes Country Club.

“The thefts that continue to occur at golf clubs in Los Angeles, Orange County, and elsewhere are a serious problem,” said Park Yun-sook (Stanton Golf College). “The thieves are targeting Koreans because they play ‘golf betting’ and have a lot of cash and good golf equipment, so you need to be careful.”


BY JANG YEOL [jang.yeol@koreadaily.com]