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Published: Thursday, 7/13/2006

Toledo man faces theft count after golf fable is unmasked

A 19-year-old Toledo man, who allegedly spun a story about his lucrative endorsement contracts as a professional golfer last month, is facing a charge of receiving stolen property for taking an $88,000 Land Rover from a West Central Avenue dealership.

Zachary Smith, of 2507 Cheltenham Rd., drove the vehicle 1,700 miles and banged it up a bit when he backed into a car near Central Avenue and Monroe Street, police said.

Mr. Smith is to be arraigned Wednesday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. He was indicted last week by a Lucas County grand jury on the fourth-degree felony charge.

He reportedly told a salesman at Jaguar Land Rover Toledo on June 5 that he was going to buy the vehicle using money from his professional golf career, Sylvania Township police Sgt. Robert Colwell said yesterday.

The 19-year-old told the salesman that he was visiting his grandparents in Toledo, and that he was involved in a golf tour in the Carolinas, the detective said.

After his $1,000 personal check bounced, the dealership contacted Mr. Smith. To coax him back with the vehicle, the dealership asked him to come in and fill out some paperwork to finalize the sale agreement. He was arrested June 7 after he showed up to sign the papers.

Mr. Smith, who allegedly drove the platinum-colored 2006 Land Rover to Raleigh, N.C., and to Columbus where he showed off the vehicle to his friends, told police that he quit playing golf and is now a musician, the detective said.

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