Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Purse-Snatching Raccoon: Masked Thief Stealing From Lady Golfers

The elderly patrons of Sandridge Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida were abuzz recently when a thief appeared on the course, stealing purses and wallets from right under their noses (and their golf carts).

In a strange twist, it turns out that they needn't be sorry worried. The culprit is none other than a purse-snatching raccoon.

This odd story began a few weeks ago when a member at Sandridge Golf Club noticed her purse had gone missing from her cart. Believing it to be the work of a human thief, she cancelled her credit cards and changed her locks, reports WPTV.

Then a second woman caught the purse-snatching raccoon in the act.

Groundskeepers followed the animal into the bushes, reports the station, where they found the first purse, golf balls, and a whole lot of trash.

Since then, Sandridge Golf Club has been trying to catch the raccoon so that it can be relocated, but WPTV notes that it continues to steal wallets from zippered golf bags.

If you're wondering who's responsible for the purse-snatching raccoon and any stolen property, the answer is not very clear.

Ordinarily, owners of wild animals are liable for any "damage" the animal causes, but Sandridge doesn't actually own the raccoon. It only owns the land the raccoon lives on.

Which brings up another issue--does a person own a wild animal that happens to live on its land?

And even if the person doesn't own the animal, as a landowner and business, should it have to protect its patrons from the animal's sticky fingers?

Some of life's greatest questions will never be answered.

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