Patrolling for guns: Naperville police net gun arrests at Topgolf

Golf and family fun aren’t the only things happening at the Topgolf in Naperville.

Since August 2021, Naperville police have arrested 16 people on weapons charges in the parking lot of the popular entertainment spot. Of those arrests, 13 have occurred since September, including two over Easter weekend.

All of the arrests took place in the Topgolf parking lot after police patrols spotted weapons — in plain view — inside parked cars. So far, none of the arrests involve gunfire or any weapons being brought into Topgolf, law enforcement officials said.

In most instances, the arrests occur after police patrolling the area notice a weapon in a car. If the car is empty, police have sat and waited for the driver to return to make their arrest. Charges have included unlawful use of a weapon, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, armed habitual criminal, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, and possession of a machine gun.

Though police can’t point to one specific reason for people bringing weapons to a family entertainment destination, they note Topgolf’s proximity to the interstate as one possible factor. The most recent arrests involved men from Blue Island and Maywood.

“People think they’re going to come to Topgolf with illegal firearms; we’re going to continue to arrest them,” Naperville Police Chief Jason Arres said. “We take our job of protecting our community very seriously.”

A Topgolf representative could not be reached for comment. However, law enforcement officials said the company has been cooperative.

Arres said members of the police department’s strategic response team, which has confiscated weapons in other parts of the city, will continue patrols at the Topgolf parking lot.

“If we are going to continue to find guns in that lot, you’re going to continue to see a lot of police presence in that lot,” Arres said.

Prosecutors also are pushing for those arrested to stay in the county jail while awaiting trial.

“We think if you’re a felon who is possessing a loaded gun, you are a threat to the community,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said.

Berlin and Arres said Topgolf remains a safe place for families to go.

“The public should feel safe to go there,” Berlin said. “The police department is being proactive and doing their job.”

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