It’s being seen as a low blow to kids’ organized sports in London, Ont. – pair of trailers containing equipment being used by the Junior Mustangs and London Beefeaters football teams were broken into.
They were parked at City Wide Sports Park on Commissioners Road East. An estimated $25,000 worth of football gear was stolen, including helmets, jerseys and shoulder pads.
It’s believed to have happened in the early morning hours of Wednesday as the Junior Mustangs had just had their first tryouts of the season at the park Tuesday evening.
Junior Mustangs President Jay Kenemy was at the site Wednesday inspecting the damage.
“First practice since COVID started,” he said. “These kids are from all kinds of homes, and like I said a great community. It’s just sad that someone feels they’ve gotta take from that community.”
Equipment manager Joe Gregorio says much of the equipment had been donated to the non-profit football program, and some of it was on loan.
“It’s stuff that they’re probably going to have trouble getting rid of,” he says referring to those responsible for the theft. “So all you’re doing is taking kids off the field and that’s a pretty low thing to be doing to kids just trying to enjoy a sport that they haven’t been able to enjoy for the last three years.”
Kenemy says the teams are banking on insurance to cover most of the losses, but he worries that replacement equipment may be hard to come by on short notice.
“Here’s the problem though,” he says. “There’s a shortage of equipment, getting stuff over, and that’s why we’re behind right now, because normally we’d have all this equipment. Them not having the stock that they have, it’s going to take some time. So we’re hoping the high schools will still support us. We’ve got a plan on how to protect our equipment a little better.”
The London Police Service and the city have been notified. In the meantime, team officials are hoping they can pull replacement equipment together in time for the first exhibition games next month.