By Tom Reopelle

This video from February of 2011 shows Team Robokong competing at the San Diego Regional.

RIVERSIDE (CBS) — A group of junior high and high school science students on Friday pleaded for whomever is responsible for stealing a student-built basketball-shooting robot to return it.

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KNX 1070’s Tom Reopelle reports the robot was inside a 17-foot trailer stolen on Wednesday from the parking lot at of Gethsemane Lutheran Church near the University of California, Riverside.

Richard Sisk, leader of Team Robokong 2493, said the robot was could pick up a basketball and shoot it, and it was specifically built for competitions.

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“This year, the robot had to pick up basketballs off a carpeted floor and shoot them into hoops,” said Sisk. “It competed against several teams with there being six robots on the field at any one time.”

The trailer and its contents are estimated to be worth about $18,000.

Team Robokong is a For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) team sponsored by Boeing and is comprised of kids in 8th through 12th grade with a passion for robotics.

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Anyone with information is asked to call police at 911 or contact Sisk at (951) 790-9216.