TUJUNGA (CBSLA.com) — Someone is stealing more than bases at one Little League field in Southern California.
Parents of T-ball players between 4 and 6 years old in the Tujunga Little League are seeking donations online after their league’s entire artificial field turf , valued at $5,000, was stolen sometime between last Wednesday and Saturday.
The AstroTurf had been donated to the league and was being used to create a warm-up field specifically for the league’s smallest players.
Little League treasurer and concerned parent Chantel Gray told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO whoever the thieves were, they were very specific in what they wanted.
“They removed all the little rubber pellets that make the grass actually stand up, because it was too heavy for them to carry otherwise,” said Gray. “So they left us with a little mound of little rubber pellets.”
Coaches say the field needs the turf, because it is too rocky for grass.
“It’s been tough,” coach Bill Mayes said. “It’s a little more dangerous for (the kids), the ball bounces a little different than on grass.”
Since the theft, the young sluggers, ages four to six, have been forced to practice on gravel, according to Gray.
The LAPD’s Foothill division is investigating the theft, but authorities say there’s little evidence due to the lack of surveillance video footage.
Meanwhile, parents have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise $3,000 to install security equipment. As of Wednesday, nearly two dozen people had pitched in about $980.
For Gray, however, she said she still struggles with the thought of someone stealing from little children.
“Before it was sad, now it’s gone to anger…I’m downright ticked off,” she said. “When it sinks in what they took and who they took it from, it really can start to make you very angry.”
Meanwhile, one of the young ballplayers had just one message for the thieves.
“Give me back my turf.”
A private company came forward Wednesday night, offering to donate more turf to the league.