JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Arlington Little League would normally be in the middle of its Fall season but is instead on pause after thieves destroyed their park.
The league’s president Jim Knight tells Action News Jax that the suspected crooks got away with up to $60,000 worth of electrical wiring and equipment.
“We work hard to bring youth together, get them out of the gang violence — off the streets. And give them something to look forward to,” Knight said. “These people are disgusting. Not only did they steal from children, but they destroyed everything they touched.”
He said the suspects gutted their electrical system, likely for the copper it contained. They also ravaged the concession stand, trashed the park, and got away with about 100 cleats donated to the league by Nike.
“You see the expression on a kid’s face. A poor kid out here playing in tennis shoes and having a hard time. You go up and give a pair of cleats, and their face just glows,” Knight said.
The incident happened about three weeks ago, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
There are no security cameras installed at the park, but Knight said they now plan on installing a system.
The Arlington Little League, a nonprofit organization, serves about 200 kids up to 16 years old.
About 25% of their kids are part of the Challenger Program, which allows mentally and physically disabled children to play baseball.
“It’s a lot of fun. They have a blast. We don’t charge them; never charge a dime. This has put a huge damper on the program.”
The league set up a GoFundMe to help raise money to get the program back up and running.
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