Thousands of dollars worth of baseball league’s equipment stolen

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GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio – Garfield Heights Police are investigating a reported weekend break-in at a storage shed at Jack C. Donovan Park. The culprit stole thousands of dollars in little league baseball equipment.

Dennis Shoop, a member of the Garfield Heights Baseball League Board, said baseball equipment valued at more than $4,000 was stolen, including 30-40 aluminum bats, eight sets of catchers’ gear, as well as other metal equipment.

“Who could do this to little kids?” Shoop said. “How do we replace this stuff? We're talking $4,000 to $5,000 in equipment, easy. The league just doesn’t have that kind of money.”

More than 100 kids aged six to fifteen play in the Garfield Heights Baseball League, according to Shoop. While some players have personal equipment, many rely on equipment provided by the league and funded through fundraisers. The season is set to begin the first week of June, but it may be in jeopardy for kids like 7-year-old Makhi Williams.

“I would feel sad, because I want to have the season, play baseball and have fun,” Williams said.

Shoop suspects that scrappers are to blame. The shed has been targeted a handful of times in the past. The league is now looking into how it can beef up security, Shoop said.

“These kids look forward to this every year,” parent Dena Shoop said. “This is what keeps them off the streets, and for someone to steal everything that basically keeps them safe, it saddens me.”