A 20-year-old man, Carlos Crespo, has been charged with first-degree arson and burglary of an unoccupied structure after causing an estimated $500K in damages to a notable Miami golf course, according to a report from the Miami Patch.
Crespo is alleged to have set fire to 40 of Melreese Country Club’s golf carts, which you can see ablaze in this surveillance video:
Melreese is the golf club slated to be the site of Miami’s new soccer stadium, pending a referendum this November.
The city has been awarded a Major League Soccer expansion franchise, and the team’s ownership group, headed by David Beckham, wants to build the club’s new stadium and adjoining entertaining complex on the ground currently occupied by Melreese.
The course is Miami’s only public golf facility and the home to a chapter of the First Tee.
PGA Tour pro Erik Compton was on hand at Miami City Hall two weeks ago, as proponents and opponents of the stadium had their public say.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play very beautiful golf courses all around the world,” Compton said, per the Sun Sentinel. “Melreese is a very special place. Soccer can fit in Miami, but not at Melreese. These kids have nowhere to go if you take away Melreese. Soccer doesn’t belong at Melreese. The kids belong there.”
As for Beckham: “It’s been a long time before I’ve walked into a room and people have not smiled at me,” he said. “It’s not a nice feeling. So, I hope that today you realize what we’re trying to do for the city of Miami. … We want to do the right thing for your children and your children’s children.”