The Main Stream

Mar 14, 2012 2:49 AM

Theft hurts two eastside little leagues

TUCSON - Second base isn't the only thing being stolen at some eastside ball diamonds.

Tanque Verde and Sabino Canyon Little Leagues have both become victims to thieves trying to get off with scrap metal or copper wiring.

There are some angry coaches and parents over on the eastside. Whoever is doing this is basically stealing from kids.

Two different leagues got hit, that's dozens of teams, and hundreds of kids affected.

The suspects' first target was a large metal storage box. They didn't just break into it, they took the whole thing.

Joseph Runnion is the President of the Sabino Canyon Little League. He said, "All our equipment is in there, bases, hoses, all stuff that we need for the field. It's probably a $2,000 loss.

But that's nothing compared to their other target. Police said boulders were removed from electrical boxes in an attempt to get at the copper wiring in the lights. Luckily they failed.

Brian Canady is the President of Tanque Verde Little League. He said, "That would be disastrous for any little league."

Runnion said, "I think the most frustrating part is they're stealing from kids. We have kids willing to be outside and play and be active. If we lost the copper, we lose the lights and lose the season."

That's because even with less teams than normal, they still have to play at night.

Canady said, "We have probably 30 to 40 teams and hundreds of games a week. It's not possible to fit all that into a Saturday or even a Saturday and Sunday.

The leagues looked into getting security but they said there's no way they can afford it. So now some parents are stepping up themselves.

Runnion said, we're asking parents and members of the board if they're out and about to drive through the fields with bright lights on. That typically scares them."

But some would like to do more than just scare them.

Ross Ribauto is the uniform supplier for a lot of the teams. He said, "It's sad. Guys like me, if I could afford it I would be out here on a 24 hour watch because I would love to catch these guys myself."

Both leagues are working with local law enforcement to get extra patrols near the fields. They're also working with the city and county to get concrete poured around the utility boxes.

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