To have a successful golf supply shop, it helps to have a good-sized stock of golf clubs.
Orange County sheriff's investigators believe an enterprising Randal M. Lebeda may have been trying to hold down overhead at his soon-to-open Ace Golf Shop in Fountain Valley by collecting free sets from unwary golfers.
The 29-year-old Lebeda was arrested last Tuesday on suspicion of burglary for allegedy entering a Laguna Niguel garage and walking off with a woman's $400 set of clubs.
It seems that at noon on that day an alert neighbor noticed a strange man entering Joy Piazza's garage in the 28000 block of Bluebell Drive--while the 38-year-old woman was at home.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday May 1, 1985 Orange County Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 1 Metro Desk 2 inches; 49 words Type of Material: Correction
A photograph in Tuesday's edition was incorrectly identified as that of Randal M. Lebeda, arrested Monday on suspicion of stealing golf clubs and setting up a business to sell used golf equipment. In fact, the photograph was of Dennis William Smith, an escapee from Orange County Jail who allegedly kidnaped and stabbed a San Clemente woman Monday.
A quick call to authorities ensued, a description was provided, and Lebeda's car with out-of-state plates was detained a short time later on the San Diego Freeway.
"When we looked into the vehicle, we found 10 more sets of used golf clubs besides the woman's," Olson said.
Investigators have since discovered that two Florida counties had issued fugitive warrants for Lebeda's arrest on charges of possessing stolen property.
The stolen property in question was--you guessed it--golf clubs.
Lebeda was traced to an address in a Fountain Valley commercial center, where investigators discovered the as-yet-unopened Ace Golf Shop, a store specializing in used golf clubs.
A cache of 75 sets of clubs and other golfing paraphernalia was uncovered when deputies served a search warrant at the shop in the 16500 block of Brookhurst Street, Olson said. At least six of the sets had been reported stolen by their owners.
"Lebeda was to be the proprietor of this shop and it was due to open May 1," Olson said Monday. "He's not going to make it now."
Lebeda was being held in the Orange County Jail on a no-bail fugitive warrant.