Harrison County

That night it rained golf balls in downtown Gulfport

Realtor Lenny Sawyer shows off a souvenir — one of the many golf balls that rained down on his 14th Street building in downtown Gulfport early Saturday. Police responded to what they thought might be a burglary, but found the street, and Sawyer’s roof, littered with golf balls.
Realtor Lenny Sawyer shows off a souvenir — one of the many golf balls that rained down on his 14th Street building in downtown Gulfport early Saturday. Police responded to what they thought might be a burglary, but found the street, and Sawyer’s roof, littered with golf balls. calee@sunherald.com

If idiocy were a crime, the Gulfport Police Department would be seriously seeking suspects.

Two women nearly had the life scared out of them at 2:20 a.m. Saturday when they heard pounding on the roof of a 14th Street business where they were packaging merchandise for shipping. They called the police, reporting a possible break-in.

Gulfport officers swarmed downtown streets, setting up a perimeter in hopes of nabbing burglars. Instead, they found golf balls.

Police spokesman Josh Bromen said officers who climbed onto the building’s flat roof discovered it was littered with golf balls. They realized golf balls were all over the street, too.

Lenny Sawyer, who owns the building in question, was awakened by one of those dreaded predawn phone calls. He and his wife hurried to Sawyer Real Estate, which has space that is rented by the women who’d called police. Sawyer said he counted nine patrol vehicles.

“Where they got all these golf balls, I don’t know,” Sawyer told the Sun Herald on Tuesday. “The police said there were a truckload of golf balls downtown.”

Most of the golf balls had been picked up by the time Sawyer arrived, but he saved one as a souvenir.

The plot thickened Monday, when two of his real estate agents were strolling behind the dilapidated seven-story Markham Building, which faces Sawyer Real Estate.

“A girl appeared out of nowhere,” real estate agent Sam Mahler told the Sun Herald. “She saw we were looking at her, and then another girl appeared out of a hole in back of the building, holding two golf clubs.”

The agents gave police the tag number of the vehicle the women had climbed into.

Alas, Bromen said, no crime has been committed at this point because malicious mischief requires a degree of property damage.

Sawyer just got a new roof on his building. His roofer, who has been out of town, will inspect for damage Wednesday.

This could turn into a case after all. If it does, we’ll keep you posted.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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