LOMPOC, Calif. - Alleged thieves in Lompoc may have reached a new low, stealing athletic gear from special needs kids just days before their fall season starts.
Lompoc Special Olympics staff made a shocking discovery Friday morning.
“We were really disheartened that somebody would break into any trailer but Special Olympics, which is a program that relies on support and donations from the community,” said Rudy Gutierrez, Special Olympics Southern California Area Manager.
You can see the broken latch on their equipment trailer which Gutierrez assumes was slashed with blot cutters.
The trailer that houses equipment for around 10 sports was parked behind the Anderson Recreation Center in Lompoc, where it’s been for years without incident - until now. Due to the damage caused, it had to be moved to Santa Maria for safekeeping.
Now, all their softball bats and gloves are gone.
Gutierrez says a good bat will set you back anywhere from $80 to $130 dollars. At least a dozen bats are missing. Quality gloves he says, you’re looking at $40 to $50 for a good glove.
Any burglary is unfortunate but this is a blatant foul.
“The timing couldn’t have come at a worse time because of the fall season starting. All of Special Olympics Southern California starts either this week or next week,” said Gutierrez.
A lone mitt was left behind, impacting some 65 athletes.
“Our athletes just go out to have fun and compete they’re not doing any wrong to anybody so a lot of our athletes are wondering why somebody would steal from them,” said Gutierrez.
While police investigate and officials try to determine exactly what’s missing, the Coast Wahoos Baseball Club is stepping up to the plate and collecting donations.
Coach Jacob Cuccina says it’s the right thing to do.
For more information on how to make a donation click here.