Police in Arizona may have called on officers with golf experience in a recent bust. It all took place in Waddell, a community northwest of Phoenix, at an RV storage facility. Surveillance had been set up near A Hole in One RV, Boat & Toy Storage, after a year’s investigation by the local power utility. It seems A Hole in One’s owners may have been tapping the utility for juice without paying for it. But before it was all over, cops got to play in the storage yard’s bunker—literally!
Not everything “above board”
The local utility company, APS, reported to the Maricopa County Sheriff that they suspected somebody from A Hole in One had tapped into one of their power junction boxes, allegedly stealing power to run their RV storage yard. On October 25, detectives armed with a warrant rode on into A Hole in One. Apparently power wasn’t the only thing that wasn’t “above board.”
When officers fanned out, they found entrances to something “downstairs.” A huge, three level bunker was below the surface of A Hole in One. Built out of semi-trailers and cargo containers, the elaborate construct was equipped with ladders and what police describe as “scissor jack elevators.”
Bunker with drugs and money
So what do you stash in your bunker? The A Hole in One outfit had “several chemical containers, bags of unknown powder, and cylinders of compressed gases.” Also in plain view, “illegal drugs and firearms.” The list of confiscated items from the property included one pound of methamphetamine, an ounce of cocaine, half an ounce of psilocybin mushrooms, and “200 narcotic pill capsules.” Police also found and hauled away $240,000 in U.S. currency, as well as gold and silver valued at $700,000.
Detectives also carted away some of the A Hole in One owners. Laura Swink (61) and her 35-year-old son, Steven Swink II, were arrested. They were jailed on felony theft of service charges, criminal damage, and obtaining utilities fraudulently.
Well-regarded by customers
This news may come as a bit of surprise to some of A Hole in One’s customers. Comments left on consumer comment site Yelp were generally quite favorable toward the Swinks. “The manager is so friendly and understanding I would never do business elsewhere,” said one patron. “She is absolutely the most amazing cooperative friendly woman I ever met. I had wanted a spot here for a while and after having talked to her she made it happen.”
Security was apparently another concern of the Swinks. Underground bunker aside, another customer wrote, “Their storage facility is off the beaten track and appears to have little to no security. Don’t for a minute believe it. I have gone into their lot twice in unknown vehicles and have been confronted both times.” As to keeping things visible, another wrote, “There are motion lights all over the place, as well as very bright lights. This place is lit up like 4th of July at night.”
Trade bunker for prison bunks?
If the Swink pair are tried and found guilty of the felony theft of services, they could miss their bunker for a long while. Under Arizona law, sentencing for theft of services varies, depending on how much stolen services were valued at. On the low end, stealing less than $1,000 worth could fetch a six-month sentence. But stealing $4,000 to $25,000 could lead to two-and-a-half to seven years in prison.