FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 14, 2012 –
By Steve Marschke
It’s getting to be a nuisance, says Sarah Sieck, league treasurer for the West Sacramento Junior Raiders youth football team.
The squad’s snack bar and storage facility have been burglarized way too often in recent weeks, with the most recent break-in on Feb. 27.
“We’ve had five break-ins now,” said Sieck. “We’ve stopped reporting them. All of them were in February.”
The team plays at the “old” River City High School stadium, on the campus on Clarendon Street that is now home to Westmore Oaks Elementary School. Near the school’s field and track are a snack bar, ticket booth and a corrugated metal storage container.
“The snack bar has been broken into, and now also the ticket booths,” said Sieck. “There were some older cheerleader skirts in storage, and someone just grabbed them and threw them all over the track.”
The equipment bin suffered two break-ins in one week alone:
“They took a P.A. (public address) system with speakers, and also the control panel that controls the scoreboard.”
And from the snack bar:
“The first time, they took all the sodas and candy,” said Sieck. “We had several cases of water, and it’s like they just took one and threw all the others around. They ransacked it, but they didn’t destroy it. We just have to get out there and clean it up.”
The first break-in was noticed by members of the River City Gators semi-pro football team, which also practices on the field.
“Jason Kang, the owner, called us and said ‘your snack bar is open – I’ll prop it closed until you can get here.’” But the break-ins didn’t stop. It probably doesn’t help that the field isn’t very visible at night, and some lights aren’t working.
“We have since re-keyed everything,” said Sieck. “The first time it appeared someone opened it but there was no damage. We were thinking that it was someone with a key. After that initial break-in, when the candy and sodas were taken, the doors were crowbared open each time and the bolt on the bin was cut.
The damage, all told, is about $4,000 for the youth sports league, including $3,000 for the P.A. system alone.
“That’s including boarding up, re-locking, and replacing equipment and supplies,” said Sieck. There was no cash stored in the snack bar or ticket booth. But the real cost to those who run the Junior Raiders is not necessarily money.
“It’s just so frustrating,” said Sieck.
The league is planning a fundraising benefit concert – possibly in June – to help defray some of the costs of the burglaries. The River City Jr. Raiders can be found on the Facebook social networking site for more information.
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Copyright News-Ledger 2012